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By Maria Caire

I naively asked my uncle which years of his life were his best. He replied: “in retrospect, every year is the best year of my life.”

Indeed, each year elicits new experiences and wisdom. It would be tragic to remain stagnant for an entire 365 days. Even so, accepting change has been one of my greatest challenges.

Change makes you a more well-rounded and knowledgeable person. No matter how rigid your routine is, each day is completely different. After a mere week has passed, you find yourself in an entirely new place from where you started. Ask yourself: what was better or worse? What did I learn?

I so vividly remember the summers I spent with cousins at my grandparent’s house during my elementary school years. Upon returning home, I would sit in the car and sob, terrified that I would never have another experience as amazing as those few weeks in the all-too-exciting city of Fresno, California. I refused to believe that the unknown can be exhilarating.

Starting college made me realize that the end of one experience is the beginning of another. My friends from home and I are spread out across the country. Though I miss them terribly, the people I have met, and continue to meet, have made this year an incredible journey.

I try to follow the message of my favorite quote as much as possible: “say ‘yes’ and you’ll figure it out later.” I would not have been able to enjoy myself so much without allowing myself to be vulnerable.

Change, negative or positive, is amazing. When my high school friends and I return home for the summer, we will not be the same people we were when we left last August. I look forward to seeing how each of our unique experiences have shaped us and how they will affect our relationships. I embrace change as gracefully as possible by accepting what is and appreciating the ways in which my experiences made me grow.

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