Classes started this Monday– I’m only taking three, and one is chemistry, so there’s not much excitement there. But I have been surprised by a lot of different things in the past few days. I’ve met a lot of people who are already beginning to have an impression on me, not because they’re these incredible firecrackers, but because they’ve forced me to reflect on myself a little bit more than I normally would. Hayley, who is just an adrenaline junkie. She always looks bored unless she’s jumping out of a plane or off a bridge. Nicco and Nigel who can never be serious. Mal, who worries too much and laughs way too hard. Flynn loves to make a scene. And Ella, who is always looking for new ways to have fun. Living freely, every minute of every day. In a lot of ways I hope I make others feel the way they make me feel. I never cared what people think of me or the things I do, but now I’m wondering if you can not care too much. These people care about their impact, their interactions. But it’s not interrupting their lives, just making them more valuable as friends. It’s easy for me to brush things off and stay in my own head, despite anything anyone else thinks about me. But these people are caring and thoughtful, easy to be comfortable around, and it feels like something that comes from caring. This is what I’ve been thinking about when I go to the park with Mal or get in the Uber with Hayley. This is what I think about when Ella takes my hand to break through the crowd of people at the club, and what I think about when I see her at lunch the next day after she’s just rolled out of bed. What makes these people so special to me despite knowing them for such a short amount of time? I have found people who make me laugh until I can cry, and people I can talk to about anything, and it’s only been two weeks at university. Changing everything and forcing myself into something entirely unfamiliar has already started to make me grow, if just a little bit. It hasn’t been entirely easy, not by a long shot, but if I can change so much about my life and still find these people, that’s something beautiful. I can be myself, genuinely, and whether at Rutgers or in Australia, I can find people who inspire me. Each in their own way, they’ve begun to help me grow, without even trying to. I’ve been told that I’m not “the type of person” who can spend a semester abroad. These people have helped me feel like I’m doing exactly what I should be doing.