On moving on:

I was always told college is the best 4 years of your life, but I was always waiting for that to happen.

And I think it finally did! I mean, it’s always been happening, I just didn’t realize. There’s been so many ups and downs, but it was this semester that helped me realize a lot of things: I am in the right major/career path. I have amazing friends, and even though I sometimes struggle to feel cared for, I know they are there. I have an incredible family who has put up with me somehow for the past 22 years and they continue to do so. I picked the absolute best school I could have for myself, and I owe so much to this place.

I used to hate when people would say “I found myself in college”, because it’s so cliche and “boring” and stuff. Well, call me boring because it’s EXACTLY how I became the person I am today. I wanted to be a certain way so I went for it…then I found out it wasn’t as cool or as fun as I thought so I kept trying to figure out — who is Jen? So I kept tinkering around until I found out exactly what I’m meant to be and meant to do. And I haven’t found it perfectly, because no one ever will, but I am the happiest I’ve ever been.

The most important thing about moving on is learning from it. That is the whole point. I have to move on from Pitt because it’s just time for me to go. I’ve learned all I can here, for now I think. I really need a change of scenery to prove to myself that I’m not this way only because I’m in Pittsburgh, I have to stay true to myself no matter where I am.

I could write so so much about everything I’ve experienced and learned here, and why I love it so much. But, alas, words cannot do it justice. It’s as if Pitt is all I’ve ever known. See, my friends here have high school friends and a lot of buddies at home, but I haven’t got that. Far from it. So coming here was a completely fresh breath of air. I could be who I wanted, it’s like I was able to start over — I wasn’t happy with myself in high school. So Pitt feels like home, it feels like I belong. I know I wouldn’t be as happy at any other place because it’s like… I was meant for this!

I’ve spent the last month saying goodbye. Goodbye to my college teams, my athletes, my clinical instructors. Goodbye to the Penguins, the Pirates and the Steelers. Goodbye to the Riverhounds, knowing that I’ll be back after hanging out with Real Salt Lake for a few months. Goodbye to Hems, G door and Mad Mex. Goodbye to living down the street from Chipotle. Goodbye to the most beautiful gym ever. Goodbye to the Strip District with the Asian market and the fresh food and the ridiculous Pittsburgh gear. Goodbye to swanky Shadyside, where an ice cream cone costs more than my pants. Goodbye to hipster af Lawrenceville, you never fail to make me happy. Goodbye to my faithful Piper’s Pub, where I spent many of my weekends catching up on my soccer. Goodbye to the Claddagh, where I met so many other US Soccer fans, where I spent late nights hoping the men’s team would do better. Goodbye to the incline…you beautiful, magnificent view. Goodbye to the ridiculous day drinks and roof rages in South Oakland (I probably won’t miss you). Goodbye to the stupid amazing sandwiches with fries and coleslaw inside them. Goodbye to the random rainstorms that make no sense. Goodbye to the rickety 10A shuttles that are horrifying but also wonderful thank you. Goodbye, my friends, to game nights, our porch drinks, our giggles, our jokes, acting like 15 year olds, our memories (but you don’t really say goodbye to these I guess), our gossip, and most of all, our caring ways that are sometimes masked on account of being college students. Goodbye, all you wonderful beautiful bridges. Goodbye, my soccer club — you’re all incredible kids and I wish you all the best. Goodbye to Cathy, the most perfect piece of architecture I have ever laid eyes on — you are our pride and joy and I ❤️ you. Goodbye to late night campus deli and O fries runs. Goodbye to all the basement parties at Sam’s house. Goodbye to everything and anything I’ve known for what feels like my whole life. Goodbye to my favorite city (ok, it’s 1/2 I’ve truly experienced, but ANYWAY). Goodbye for now.

I’m saying goodbye now, because even though I’ll be back, I know that nothing will ever be the same again. But, I will make it better. I’ll be able to rejoice in seeing the kids who were once in my shoes, and know that they feel the love and energy that runs through this school and this city.

Goodbye, Pittsburgh. You have been so incredibly generous and amazing to me. I promise you I am not done, I’ll be back for you!