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Hey guys, My name’s Erica and I’m a sophomore here at UAlbany.

To be honest with you, I am not even sure anyone will ever even see this (I mean really how many people do you know would choose some basic nineteen year old girl’s blog over that lit twitter fight?) Well, for those of you who do, what’s good? Oh and before I even get into whatever spiel this ends up being, I’d like to clarify my less than scholarly descriptor words back there. More often than not, the terms “basic” and “girl” strung so closely together paint a picture of hashtags and Starbucks — or #Starbs, if you will (SO insta worthy btw). Now don’t get me wrong I’m as much a fan of social media, and anything that rivals my now increasingly irritating job (@Dunkin) as the next person. But, the Erica everyone else has come to know, and inevitably love (What can I say? I’m great!), you too will soon realize, is anything but a basic girl. You see, here, “basic” refers to my past. I grew up in your traditional white-picket-fence realm of suburbia, raised by traditional parents in a traditional family of five. But really, even as my own fingertips graze this keyboard with the intent of sincerity, I know that “traditional” is just a frilled way of saying average.

Again, please don’t get me wrong, I appreciate this upbringing. The close-knitted community blessed me with more than I could probably ever fathom. It saved my family in a time of tragedy, a story, I will  save for another day. I would not change my years in that small Connecticut town I call home for anything .

It all started just over a year ago: I was a first semester freshman, performing averagely in my, mostly gen-ed classes. Apparently getting accustomed to the academic shift between high school and college did not come nearly as naturally as the social one had. Personally, I blame frat houses. I mean they’re just so clean and tame and it’s almost like heels were tailored specifically for those rickety spiral staircases! I’m sorry I literally just cannot help but laugh at that one. But I could not, solely, blame the staircases  for the damage my body had, undeniably, absorbed. I went from the palest white to black and blue REAL QUICK.

Click Here for info about UAlbany’s Alcoholics Anonymous Evening Campus Group

Sure, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t fun,  but then again I’d also be lying if I said I remembered even half of it. As a much more self-aware person today, I realize that this behavior was not okay, even according to the very loose rules of what is acceptable in college. If I am being honest with you, even more so; if I am being honest with myself, I would admit that this recklessness was driven by deep-seeded emotional struggle. Struggle that followed me across state borders, from very un-average hardships within my average life, in my average home town. However, binge drinking was only one of the plethora of habits, I can now see as blatantly self destructive.

turning-point.jpgThankfully, for both my mind and my body, an opportunity presented itself that would change everything. Like actually everything. During one of the few classes I actually made it to my first semester on campus, our professor scrolled through a slideshow offering a faculty-led winter break program in London. To this day, I have no idea what came over me as I sat in the back of that room, utterly enamored. My decision was made far before even consulting my parents, and it was the single best investment I ever made.

In just three short, magical weeks, I fell in love with myself, life, and the world. Of course, I was still in college and I still had a ton of fun. But partying became just that: a means of fun only, not something taken too far, in an attempt to cope.My grades skyrocketed, my social life became more authentic, and my once emotional struggle turned to the truest emotional stability. I’ll never forget the words a good friend said to me after returning from break — “Erica, you’re like a new soul”. Because she was right. I was a new soul, and I will continue to build upon that experience and myself for the rest of my life. This semester, this reconstruction is happening in Italy. Yeah, I fell in love with the world so much over in London, I just had to come back to Europe.  I am in Florence and will be traveling throughout Italy and Europe. I am in total bliss.

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The intent of this blog is to show others that you are your own biggest investment and you really do deserve everything life has to offer. So go do something crazy and spontaneous and find your heart. It’s not going to be easy. I literally had to fly across the world to find mine, but once you do, that heart will be unbreakable and forever.

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories  – their voices.
About the Author:
Erica B.
Class of 2019
Major: Psychology
Minor: Criminal Justice
Blog Theme:
Around the World and into Myself

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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