This time last year, I was sharing an apartment in suburban Los Angeles, having moved there to go to a certain design school. I stayed there for a completely miserable four months. The program I chose was severely serious and it was bringing me down, L.A. was impossible without a car, and although I met a lot of great people, I couldn’t relate to any of them. I felt really alone. My roommate was whip-smart and very cool, but five years older than me and sooo uptight…I mean, very focused on school. This was the beginning of my Great Freshman Experience, and I had something else in mind. Something that involved my actually enjoying my youth, having a social life, and not becoming a homework machine. Don’t get me wrong, I LIVE to work hard, but not if I have to separate myself from the outside world (which I love).

So, it was awful. Loneliness doesn’t even begin to describe.

During that period I lost a sad amount of social skills and my innate desire to party. I almost forgot what I love—which is LIFE.

So last December, I moved to the Bay Area, switched schools, switched majors, and very slowly moved out of the bummer zone. My first semester at my new school was spent recovering, getting used to the hyper-social environment of on-campus life, coming out of my shell. Now, a year later, I feel like myself again. Finally.

This week, I thought a lot about my sad L.A. time. Probably because I finally moved all my things to my new dreamy dream apartment, and it’s the end of the year, and I am feeling sentimental. Last night my roommates and I drank beer together and played records, talking about how content we were with the moment and the place we were in. I got to fall asleep to the sound of my friends’ voices, and wake up to the sun coming in through my bedroom windows. To me, this stuff is magic.

I expected all of the cool shit of life to come in a huge avalanche when I moved out of the house to go to college. That definitely didn’t happen automatically. When I realized it wasn’t coming to me, I knew I had to make it happen. ♦