1. When the semester started Arriving back on Grounds after summer is pretty exciting. Not so much the beginning of classes, but those first few days when our only responsibility is trying to squeeze all of our possessions into incredibly small rooms and catching up with as many people as possible. It feels a bit like coming home, only with the amplified energy of thousands of homecomings happening at once. 2. When expectations were extremely high Fresh from summer vacation and ready to take on the world, I was idealistic verging on delusional. I was ready to have a fully balanced life, get more involved, study hard and exercise regularly — definitely delusional. It worked out moderately well. I even went jogging upwards of three times — but it could not last. Still, every so often I get a rush of that motivation that was hanging around the air the first few weeks of this semester, and I’ll go to the gym or eat a random vegetable. Sporadic health is better than none at all, right? 3. When the leaves changed colors Anyone that I spoke to at the beginning of this semester can attest to the fact that I was looking forward to fall a great deal. A singular orange leaf was all it took for me to launch into a 10-minute monologue about it. Many drizzly weeks later, there was still no sign of fall, and I was left clutching my salted caramel mocha in the rain — wondering if I loved fall so much that I scared it away. Then one Friday in mid-October, when I least expected it, I walked outside to the beautiful surprise of crisp air and golden leaves. Fall kept us all waiting, but when it showed up it really showed up. 4. When a football game was actually fun For context, I don’t go to a lot of football games. In fact, I’ve been to exactly two. Then my mom, whose Wahoo spirit rivals my own, suggested going to a football game. Three hours of watching people tackle each other over a ball — why, Mom, why? But despite my lack of love for sports, I actually enjoyed the game. It’s easy to dismiss sports when all you hear are scores and a lot of references you don’t understand or really care about. It’s entirely different to be in the stadium and feel the energy of everyone rooting for our team and school. Plus, anything you put on a jumbo screen is pretty much bound to be hilarious. 5. When everyone went wild for Halloween Trick or Treating on the Lawn is definitely one of the most iconic University traditions. Even though it was right in the middle of the week, ordinary life took a backseat, and Halloween spirit poured onto the lawn in the form of adorable children, hilarious dog costumes and lots and lots of candy. You may wake up bleary-eyed, with a sugar hangover and a little behind on work the next day, but if Halloween is not an excuse to shirk responsibility, then what is? 6. When there was a hurricane It honestly seems like forever ago that Hurricane Florence came into our lives. Tragically, we all know the end to that story was an email reminding us that our schedules would continue uninterrupted. I know that it ended up only drizzling here, but after all of the anticipation, all the hurricane snacks eaten and rebought, didn’t we deserve a little bit more than just being slightly dampened, both physically and in spirits? 7. When Friday night finally came around Anticipation for Friday night frequently began on Monday. Still, I would suppress it until it began to bubble out mid-week, and I couldn’t help asking people in casual conversation what their plans for that weekend are. What I love is the broad range of answers I’ll get in response to that question. They range from going to the symphony to seeing their friend’s play to having a movie night to of course, the wonderfully vague answer that everyone knows the exact meaning of — “I’m going out.” Unfortunately, Friday nights can’t last forever, though the shameful memories of the night before and vague pieces of “Mo Bamba” haunting the back of your mind seem to. 8. When Friday night was followed all too closely by Monday morning Waking up for my 8 a.m. class became such a dreaded event that I would stay up later and later just to delay going to sleep, even though I knew I would eventually have to wake up. The only bright side of this was the late-night hours that I would spend lying in bed talking to my roommate. Having someone to struggle with through the hardest nights of the week changed these moments from mundane to memorable. Besides, pretty much any meme you show me is going to be crazy hilarious when it’s 2 a.m. and I’m right on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 9. When someday became today There are a lot of things I tell myself I’ll do. It’s the follow through I struggle with. When it actually happens, it’s almost always a lot messier than it appeared on my perfectly color-coded planner. So when “climb a mountain” showed up on my to do list, naturally it seemed doomed for failure. But disaster-prone or not, every University student at one point or another feels inexplicably driven to go on a hike. So, I got up at 5 a.m., picked up my half-asleep friend to go on a hike. And guess what I’m not great at, folks — hiking. In my defense, it was very dark and who knew that there were so many loose rocks everywhere. Still scuffed up, there’s nothing quite like reaching the top. 10. When the semester ended Throughout this semester, it has become terribly apparent that there are highs and lows to life no matter how old or how emotionally stable you think you are. But when things do calm down, just for a minute, just enough to see the person you’re becoming with every moment that passes, it kind of makes it worth it. As the semester comes to an end, we’ll all have that chance to think about what we’ve done and what we’d like to do. But at the moment, thinking about what I’ve done gives me anxiety and all I’d like to do is pass my finals. One step at a time, right?