For most of my life, I’ve been forgettable–and I’ve been good at it. Remember that scene in “The Princess Diaries” when someone literally sits on Anne Hathaway/Mia Thermopolis because they didn’t even notice she was there? That should give you an idea of how I felt up until a few years ago. In high school I was drafted as “shy” and “quiet,” two adjectives I would never assign to my current self. My freshman year of college I would go to parties and bars and meet lots of different people–but when I waved to them the next day, I’d be greeted with a lack of recognition.
I feel that I’ve become more assertive over the past two years, with a tremendous change when I studied abroad. Amsterdam means SO much to me, and my growth in independence is one of the reasons why. I learned more about myself in five months of living there than the past three years of college. I did things I wanted, when I wanted. I made friends with the guy who freed my bike after I broke the padlock’s key…so the next time it happened, he volunteered to help once more. I dyed my hair blonde. I biked miles and miles. I looked at art. I ate lots of stroopwafels. I started drinking beer. I started liking beer. I constantly, consistently was in awe of the city’s beauty. One year later, I’m still not sure how it’s possible for a place to be so stunning.
This past year, I’ve started being more confident in my career goals and skills. I learned to work on a team–on a professional level. I learned how to say no. I started asking for what I want. And now that a brand new, unplanned, simultaneously terrifying/exhilarating chapter of my life is beginning, I’m excited to continue growing.