It may seem trivial, but I have long struggled to decide which season is my favorite.
When I was a child, I would have said summer. I didn’t have to go to school, so I would play in the backyard all day long. Summer also meant long trips to my grandparent’s place at the lake where I was free to roam the property.
When I turned 16 and got my first job, my love of summer turned to feelings of dread. I started to dislike summer almost as much as I dislike winter. Missouri typically has cold winters with a 5pm sunset. Since most of my winters have been spent in school during the day, there was very little time to enjoy the sun before it went down, especially after I started working.
It’s probably my loathing of winter which led me to appreciate spring so much. I always find it exciting when the days grow longer and I can spend more time outdoors.
But what about autumn? The coming of autumn meant going back to school, so I found this time of year very discouraging until I started university. And then everything changed.
It was during my university years that I started to be more confident in myself. I didn’t really notice it at first since I also struggled with self-awareness through most of my undergraduate studies.
During the changing of the seasons, from spring to summer of 2014, I left the country for the first time. Spanish, Oaxaca’s streets and markets, and the first inkling that I wanted to travel more accompanied a sense of self-awareness of the confidence that I had been cultivating through three years at university. Thus, my international experience and a sense of personal growth were marked by the changing of the seasons.
At the next changing of the seasons, summer to fall, I boarded my second international flight out of the States. The day that I landed in Northern Ireland, the air felt almost cold compared to the heat I had left behind in Missouri.
That semester turned out to be the most liberating and life-altering times of my life. Armed with my new sense of self-confidence and self-awareness, I forged enduring friendships and discovered and developed new parts of myself.
Two season changes later, as Virginia transitioned from spring to summer, I defended two Bachelor theses, applied to graduate schools, and earned my Bachelor degree.
As summer changed to fall, I found myself on another international flight. I watched the screen as the plane flew closer to the Emerald Isle, and I looked out the window somewhat in shock that I was seeing Europe again.
Only a few hours later my plane touched down in Germany, a country I had never set foot in before. This time I was transitioning into graduate school, another new country, and a plan to stay indefinitely.
Since that changing of the seasons, nothing has really changed as significantly. Until now.
Yet again, I find that the most pivotal changes in my life are coinciding with the changing of the seasons. As the weather changed from tank tops and unbearably hot to rainy and cold enough for sweaters in the span of a week, I was working on finishing my Master’s thesis.
Finish it, I did. Earlier this month, I handed in my thesis and breathed a sigh of relief. I’ve finished my second degree and only have to wait for a grade and my diploma in the mail. Everything is changing now. I’m saying goodbye to friends, went to a few job interviews, and accepted a job in Munich.
This changing of the seasons brings the end of my studies as well as the beginning of my professional work life. Finally, I see myself being able to start paying off those student loans, develop professionally in a non-academic environment, and have more financial resources to get lost in new places.
All this to say, I guess the reason I can’t pick a favorite season is that I prefer the changing of the seasons. To friends near and far, I hope to see you again as I come into some time and finances to travel. I already have a trip home to Missouri scheduled for Christmas.
Until the next changing of the seasons…