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  • Jilleen Barrett

yours truly, jilleen

Between moving back onto campus after a remote semester, starting classes and beginning the semester with four new executive board roles and a job, the last few weeks have been crazy.

The day I moved back to campus was also my 20th birthday, a milestone I don’t even feel old enough for. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m an adult or a teenager anymore, and I wonder what to call this in-between phase of floating through the rest of college before having to enter reality with the rest of the world.

I’m starting to realize that life is much messier than I ever realized. Movies will tell you that there are certain achievements you should have made before a certain age, but sometimes that isn’t how your life works out. On the other hand, sometimes you achieve things earlier than the norm.

My close friend Anna is the editor-in-chief of our campus newspaper, The Quadrangle, and I am the second in command along with Maria Thomas. Anna and I are only sophomores; we weren’t “supposed” to have these roles yet.

Contrastingly, I experienced something new that most people have probably been doing since they were in their teens: I had my first kiss. It wasn’t special or anything, just a guy I thought I could maybe have a thing with. It never made it out of the talking stage, but I’m realizing that first kisses don’t have to be perfect, and relationships are just as messy as life is.

COVID continues to complicate all aspects of my life as well; for example, that guy wasn’t being as safe as I would have liked for him to be if we were going to continue being mask-less around each other. He can obviously do whatever he wants, but I don’t think what he wants works for me, and that’s something I’ve learned to accept. I wish I could have seen what might have happened between us in another situation– one where we didn’t have to be concerned about getting a virus from each other– but this is the reality that I must learn to live in for now. Maybe that’s what being an adult is really about.

So I guess where I leave you, reader, is with the lesson that it doesn’t really matter when you have certain milestones; there’s no due date on when you need to have your first kiss or land the specific internship you want or find out who you really want to be.

COVID has already taken away nearly a year of our lives, so why waste more of it trying to force events to happen by a certain age? Just enjoy what you can and allow yourself to get to a new point in your life when the time is right.

yours truly,



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