Every year The MV Times asks four recent high school graduates to write about their experiences during their first year after graduation. Lee Hayman is attending Denison University in Granville, Ohio. This will be her final dispatch.
As I sit here writing this, I cannot believe that I have already been out of school for a month. Mainly I can’t believe that it’s already been a month because I have spent the better half of it so far sleeping until noon and eating as many homemade cookies as my mom will make me, and loving every second of it.
My final weeks at Denison were consumed with everything and anything to do with lacrosse and the Division 3 NCAA playoffs. As finals ended and people boarded flights home, our team only got closer as practices intensified and we were constantly with each other. My team finished with an overall record of 15-4, won our conference, and didn’t lose for the month of March. This earned us the honor of hosting a playoff game on our home turf for the first time in program history. It was quite a lot, in the best way possible, to take in as a freshman. I thought all I wanted was to get home to my friends and get the summer started, but that week with just my team on campus was one of the best of my entire year. Our season this year was the type of experience you know you will remember and reference for the rest of your life, even while you’re living it. Believe it or not, even though our season ended only three weeks ago, our summer workout packet has already begun!
The biggest adjustment coming home was not being able to yell down the hall to all of my friends to go grab food, go to practice, or to get out of bed before we slept through our 9 am’s. Oh, and the fact that my little sister was still in school! I kept asking her to hang out and was getting sick of her blowing me off for “school” and “homework.” How rude! Another readjustment is living back with the ocean! I’ve always loved the ocean since I was a little girl, and been in awe of its power and beauty, but after being landlocked for close to six months, every time I drove by the water for the first two weeks I was home, it actually took my breath away. I found myself gasping driving down State Road, feeling like a tourist marveling at the “famous Jaws bridge,” but gaining a little more understanding for why people are so obsessed with our precious Island. There’s truly nowhere else like it.
Today was the first blissfully warm beach day, and I spent it with three of my best friends lying in the sand at Lambert’s Cove, thinking about how different our lives were this time last year. As we lay there, we talked about how this time just a short year ago, our lives were consumed with commencement, graduation parties, nerves about our first year of college, travel plans for orientation, and what kind of sheets we wanted for our dorm room. Thinking about how much a year can change you, your friends, your relationships, and your goals is truly remarkable. I would like to hope that this year changed me for the better, and I know it made me grow a huge amount in every aspect of my life.
The first question anyone feels inclined to ask a newly returned college kid is “Did you love it? Did you have so much fun?” I think that I’m really lucky to say that this question, which I’ve gotten upwards of 100 times, guaranteed, never gets old or annoys me. I can feel the smile spreading over my face before they’ve even finished asking, as I reply without skipping a beat, Yes, I really did love it, and Yes, I had the best year of my life. I know not everyone is able to say that they have found their “home away from home,” so I never take for granted that I have been lucky enough to find mine. I think my biggest struggle now is to slow down and savor every drop of this summer, and not to wish I was back at school. I know when September comes, I’ll be driving out to school with a whole new set of emotions from those I had the year before. Last year was filled with excitement, nerves, and uncertainty, and this year it’s filled with eagerness to move into a new dorm, anticipation to be reunited with all my best friends, and mischief as I try to brainstorm what to put these freshmen through this year… I mean, how I’ll welcome them to Denison, of course.
I would like to add that I have sincerely loved writing these articles and the chance they gave me to reflect on portions of my year. Thank you to anyone who has followed along or come up to me to say they have read them.