A New West Coast Life

Hello beautiful readers!
After a short hiatus, I am back, ready to supply you with a regular dose of writing! At this very moment, I am flying back to the beautiful Los Angeles to close out my first semester at USC, after which I’ll be making a stop in Denver for a few days before I return to Chicago to spend the holidays with my family.

In retrospect, these past few months have been some of the most influential and transformative of my life thus far. I can guarantee that it has not been a perfect ride, as is life. However, each lesson has served as a tool for personal growth, and for that, I am very grateful. As the semester comes to a close, I can certainly say that I am emerging a bit wiser, a little more grounded and aligned with my heart than when I began. I feel a renewed sense of purpose and clarity as I reflect on all that has transpired since I first left the comfort of midwestern suburbia for a life on the west coast.

In terms of how I want to spend my time here, I’ve had to make some important decisions. I’m currently working on filtering out all the excess and unnecessary parts of my life that distract me from what brings me true joy and what I came here to do – work hard, make music, and help kids. Simple as that. Naturally, there are many distractions at this school and in this town, and the temporary joy I’ve felt in Greek life is very illusory and fleeting. It does not compare to the deep joy that I feel when I establish a meaningful connection with a child or create a piece of music that moves people. While Greek life can be a wonderful experience for many, it hasn’t sat right with me. The discomfort and cognitive dissonance I’ve experienced the past couple months have only revealed to me what I really desire and crave in this lifetime – true connection, unconditional friendship, a purposeful life, love. Anything else, I believe, is a waste of my very precious time.

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Taken on a solo bike ride in Santa Monica.

Despite a few small setbacks, including a classic case of mono (a college rite of passage?), I often remind myself to take a step back in gratitude for this dream that I worked so incredibly hard for. Five-year-old me planted the seed, and I’ve worked tirelessly since to cultivate my California dream and make it a tangible reality. For this exciting and novel time of my life, I cannot imagine myself in any other city, studying at any other university. USC is perfect, abounding in opportunity for ambitious and hard-working kids, from all backgrounds, with a desire to make valuable contributions to the world. And Los Angeles… with mountains to its right, ocean to the left, and a music scene so rich and vibrant for an aspiring singer-songwriter like myself, it is a dream. Sigh, the west coast just hums in synchronicity with my soul. It is everything I’ve ever wanted and everything that I need.

I’m looking forward to what the next semester holds for me. I’ve had some plans and ideas brewing inside me for some time, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in what really sparks my joy. For those of you reading this, whoever you may be (I truly have no idea. For only having written a few posts, I somehow have readers on every continent – except Antarctica – and 56 countries!), thank you for taking time out of your day to listen to my thoughts. I promise to write and post more often.

Have a great day.
Nicole

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