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  • danielle cohen

Growing in the Waiting

As I sit here with my mind running wild, I have so much to say. Problem is, there are still a million things to do.

On one hand, the thought that I am writing a blog post rather than a college essay is driving me mad. Shouldn’t I be writing about why UNC is the perfect school for me, or why Maryland is at the top of my list? Or maybe I should be graphing sine and cosine and studying for my classes?

There are quite literally piles of things I could be doing for my future right now and somehow, I just want to write for this blog.

The past few months have been the craziest yet most transformative months of my life. After summer, senior year started off extremely rough but I kept every bit of it to myself. My deepest thoughts were taking over my life and my motivation was gone. I’m not going to lie; that lasted for a few weeks. In some ways, it’s still going on.

But something pulled me out of the darkest place and prompted me to ask for help.

What I’m learning now is that the fact that I’m choosing to write for myself is okay, and even good. In the past, I've been good at writing all my thoughts and feelings down and saving them on my computer. I wrote what I wanted and simply saved it for myself. I wasn’t doing it for anyone else. I wasn’t showing it to anyone. I used writing as an outlet, and that was comfortable for me. But at the end of junior year and especially senior year thus far, a lot has changed.

After winter break of junior year, I fell into an uncomfortable place that I've never been quite so deep into. That followed me up until the summer when I left for staff training at camp.

But at the end of junior year and especially senior year thus far, a lot has changed.

Then the bright spot…summer was beautiful for me. I always say that each year at camp was the best year and the year that I learned the most, but this year was truly different. I've been meaning to write about this past summer for this blog for a while, but like I said, my life has been busy in a way I’ve never experienced.

Being a mentor and leader to little kids was life changing, and definitely the most rewarding thing I have ever done. On the last night of a few sessions, I played the song Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift and sat on the ground, lights off, with my co-counselors.

We played the song while all the girls were in bed and listened to the lyrics. When the song finished and I began talking about it, I held my tears back as best I could, in disbelief that I was now a counselor. I realized that now I’m the one talking about the lyrics and giving life lessons to these little girls. Instead of being a camper, I was now one of the staff who shaped camper experiences. Leading that charge at the place that has shaped me was beyond believable.

I also explained to my campers that I couldn’t believe that I would be applying to college and living my last year at home. At that moment, it felt like time had flown by so fast. I told them that they’d experience the same thing, and at some point, they wouldn’t even know where all the time went. I shared that it feels like just yesterday that I was in cabin six as a camper and my counselors were shaping my camp experience. Before all of those young girls knew it, they might be doing the same.

Every time I looked at these girls having fun, I couldn’t help but think about me, my life, my past and my future. So it’s safe to say that this year at camp was the most transformative. There is no doubt in my mind that working with these kids as a counselor was the best experience of my whole life. Maybe I will create a separate post on camp but for now, I’ll bring you back to senior year.

At the end of summer, I was on a major high. I had spent nine weeks at my favorite place with all my best friends. I came back excited for senior year, but my views changed quickly after I returned home. Senior year started and I fell back to where I was in the second semester of junior year. I was stuck in the same toxic mindset and was way way deeper than I ever had been. It was the first week of the school year and I was already procrastinating, which is something I never do because I like to get assignments done and submitted as soon as I can.

A series of events led up to me eventually asking for help. An essay that I sent to my mom to edit sparked a conversation that ended very well. These events all lead up to more growth and learning and acceptance of where I am now and where I am headed.

A series of events led up to me eventually asking for help.

So, as I write this post with a few more supplemental essays to write and applications to submit, I am acknowledging that it’s okay to take this time to write for me. I’m still very much trying to balance different parts of my life and still feeling overwhelmed with senior year, but I am growing in this season and learning how to keep going. I am discovering how to continue on and find joy where I am, while also feeling everything that I am experiencing. I am taking it one day at a time and connecting with others in similar situations as me.

There are many people to credit with helping me get to this point, who have unknowingly and knowingly changed parts of my life. There are places, situations, and writings that have changed me and pulled me out of my darkest places and I am eternally grateful.

For now, as I work on myself, I wanted to come here and post about a small piece of my life recently. Maybe more detail will come soon, but for now I am focusing on the growth that’s ahead of me.

Here’s to life and being here.

With love,


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