Embracing the beauty of change


Ellen McDonald, Managing Editor

I used to fear change.

Every year on my birthday after all the celebrations were over and the birthday cake was cut, I would cry. I used to not know why; but I realized one year that I was mourning the year of my life that had passed.

I would think back on all the people I met, all the things I saw and all the changes I underwent, and I would mourn the person I used to be.

On my eighteenth birthday, I cried over the loss of my childhood. No longer could I run into my dad’s arms after he came home from work. I could not run downstairs on Christmas morning and see an abundance of toys. I could no longer push my little brother on the swing.

I had lost all of these things when I grew up and I cried over the knowledge that my life would never be the same. No matter how badly I begged, my childhood had ended.

Within my first year of college, my dorm room flooded, I lost my longest friend and I got sent home due to the pandemic.

In no way was my freshman year normal. Over the course of the last year though, I have learned to embrace the beauty of change.

My time at The Flor-Ala has come to an end. I knew it was coming, but nothing ever really prepares you for the ending of your favorite chapter within your favorite novel. It is like a wave that I see coming but I do not move because I want to be reminded of the crashing.

When I first started to volunteer with the newspaper I had no idea how deeply and vastly it would change my life. I was so unaware of the amount of people I would meet and how many stories I would have the honor of telling.

I always wanted to be a writer. I have always known that there is power in words. Only a select few have the ability to harness it. I would have never thought that a little windowless building on the edge of campus would help me realize that.

I came to UNA as an undecided major. I did not know where I would end up or what I would end up doing, but I now know I want to tell stories. There is beauty and promise in everything around us and it is just waiting for it’s story to be told.

When I was home sick one day years ago, I watched a movie that changed my life. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is what made me realize that I never wanted to spend my life rotting away in an office.

In the movie the motto of LIFE is at the center. “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

One of the most alluring things about life is the unknown. Change brings the unknown and that is why I once was afraid of it.

I used to not like not knowing what lied ahead of me.

Now, I welcome the unknown. Leaving the Flor-Ala was a major decision for me and it was something that I spent a year considering; but it is time.

One thing about life is that you cannot progress when you refuse to jump into the unknown. The waves may crash into you and the undertow might take you for a bit, but you are never meant to stay on the shore. You have to take that chance and swim into the unknown.

I will forever cherish my time at the Flor-Ala and I will never forget all the wonderful stories I had the privilege to tell.