Sentimental seniorisms


Four years ago, I sat at a computer writing a final column for my high school newspaper. As the editor-in-chief, it was customary for me to bid my farewells and leave the staff and readers with any wisdom (I thought) I had to give.

It started as such:

“They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And although this statement rings true, encouraging people to take what life gives them and make something of it, I think the lack of detail in this catchy, little saying makes it all the more resourceful. It shows how sometimes in life you just might not have all the ingredients to make what we all know and love as lemonade. One needs both sugar and water to add to the mixture, in hopes of balancing out the bitter times, with those that are a little more sweet.”

Clever, huh?

I would love to say that my recipe for lemonade reached perfection after four years of college. I would love to say the sweet experiences are as prevalent as those that have been a little more bitter.

But I cannot.

And I think what 21-year-old me knows now, and 17-year-old me did not, is that it is OK.

I arrived at Butler University determined. I was determined to reverse the damage of a not-so-swell freshman year at my first university, which left me feeling lonely, angry and disappointed in not only myself, but the world we live in.

As a transfer sophomore placed into a freshman orientation, I will admit that it was not quite the experience to make the previous wounds any less painful.

And a December alcohol violation, temporarily placing me on probation, also did not make me feel as if transferring to Butler was the answer to all of my woes.

I quickly immersed myself into various interests during my second semester here. I applied to be a resident assistant, joined a sorority, spent a spring break doing service in Jamaica, joined the Butler Collegian as the assistant opinion editor and finished the school year with a position in student government.

But the long list of titles in my e-mail signature only temporarily helped to sweeten my lemonade. They did not make up for the missed basketball games, Homecoming celebrations and that overall feeling of seclusion from my peers who seemed to owe all of their happiness to this institution.

Taylor Jade Powell and mother, Carol Joy during Homecoming 2016. Photo courtesy of Taylor Jade Powell.

Powell (left) with her mother, Carol Joy, during Butler Homecoming 2016. Photo courtesy of Taylor Jade Powell.

I look back and I regretfully, but healthily, wish I would have done more. But the burden of reacclimation left me feeling like I was playing catch up. I needed to lead this, and remedy that and make my mark on a place that so desperately needed to see change.

And although it all sounded so good at the time, I wish I would have been a little more selfish.

Because four years is all we get.

Four years is all we have to endure sleepless weeknights, in exchange for sleepless weekends.

It is the only time where mess-ups find quick fixes, and help is only a call away for most.

So, while it may not have been the best four years of my life, it has carried the best lessons.

Because for every breakdown, I found solace in self-realization. In every bad grade, I learned the importance of releasing control. And in any other bitter experience, I had at least one person waiting with a packet of sugar to sweeten my lemonade.