MY 4 YEARS LIVING ON MY OWN IN GRONINGEN
It feels just like yesterday when I moved to Groningen. I was 18. I remember feeling so anxious about the whole thing. Moving to the other side of the country, saying goodbye to my precious friends, and leaving my previous life behind felt strange. It felt like a second chance in a way too. A second chance that could possibly turn out great, or a second chance that I could screw up immensely. I moved to a small room next to the central train station, with 7 house mates that were simply put – terrible. Although I did enjoy every course that I had to study for law, and I had great grades, I did not feel happy at all. I just did not feel like myself. After finishing my first year of law school, I promised myself things had to change. And they did. I moved to the most beautiful loft apartment ever (honestly, I think I love it a bit too much), broke up with my boyfriend, and started my blog.
My second year of living in Groningen was the exact opposite of my first. Like my life was just as inconsistent as picking a card from a shuffled stack. I was okay with the odds though, because I felt like they were on my side. In my first year of living on my own I was quite lost, whereas in my second year I started feeling like Groningen was becoming my home. I finally parted my ways with the last people I knew from high school, and created room for new people to come into my life. I met my best friends during this year, found a new love, gained more self-confidence. My grades were still as good as in my first year, so I honestly had nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, the ending of this year took me by surprise. I guess every good story needs a volta. I had to experience a new breakup again, but this time it was way worse than my previous one. I returned to feeling lost.
Time heals all wounds. And as one always does, I got over it. It was not easy. It was everything but. However, I am grateful for these experiences, because it definitely taught me a lot. I became more careful with what kind of people I chose to surround myself with, and I started listening more to my intuition.
“It felt like a second chance in a way too. A second chance that could possibly turn out great, or a second chance that I could screw up immensely.”
“Philosophy of Law made me feel like I was not studying something to expand my knowledge, but I was learning things that would actually help me.”
My third year of law school was intense. My first and second year almost seemed easy compared to the courses in my last year of my LL.B. Not only did I struggle with this very heavy course load, I also had to juggle my blog, Youtube channel and webshop at the same time. With law school becoming more difficult and my blog and Youtube channel more time consuming, it was really hard to get back into the swing of things for me. I could not keep up with my schedule, and this resulted in me losing my usual work flow. Unfortunately, this made me lose my graduating my LL.B. with cum laude, due to one stupid 6.0/10.
This unfortunate event changed me. I felt like I failed the one big thing I wanted to achieve. There’s no coming back from something like that, or so I thought. At first, I lost my motivation and love for law and I wanted to quit everything all together. Luckily I did not have to quit anything, because change was coming anyway. I still finished my LL.B. with an average of 8.0/10, which I am still happy about. It also gave me the possibility to start something new. A third chance, you could say. And I already knew what I wanted it to be.
At the end of my last year of my Bachelor in Laws, I took up the course called Philosophy of Law. And I fell in love with it. Although I always enjoyed studying law, philosophy gave me a feeling I never had before. Philosophy of Law made me feel like I was not studying something to expand my knowledge, but I was learning things that would actually help me. It was something that would influence how I think and could eventually change the world. I knew one thing: I had to start a second degree in Philosophy as soon as possible.
In my last year in Groningen I started with the Research Master in Law, and the B.A. in Philosophy of a Specific Scientific Field. I still wanted to become a lawyer at that time, but I did realize that I loved studying and doing research way too much to be done with my LL.M. in one year only. The 2-year Research Master combined with a second Bachelor in Philosophy was the perfect solution.
It definitely was. I loved the different research and philosophy of law oriented courses of the Research Master. It made me realize that I was not interested in practicing law as much as I was interested in the theoretical, research side of it. However, studying philosophy honestly felt like coming home. Reading about my beloved Ancient Greek philosophers, being able to laugh my ass off with people that actually understood philosophical memes, and realizing how the way I thought about my life was changing, felt amazing. During this time, I had some unforgettable experiences I will cherish in my heart deeply.
This made me realize that being a lawyer would not be the path (or Dao) for me. Making this decision was hard. It felt as if someone was pulled the rug from under my feet, and I was just floating through the air, with no control over anything. All things that seemed a certainity, were called into question. I guess that is what philosophy does to you. I realized that instead of chasing after my goals, I should be chasing after my happiness. And becoming a lawyer was definitely not the thing that would make me happy. What makes me happy is inspiring people, being creative, and everything related to philosophy. So I decided that I would finish my LL.M. focusing on doing research in Philosophy of Law, my B.A. in Philosophy, and after that also do a Master in Philosophy. And after being done with uni, I would give myself the opportunity to go truly fulltime with being an online inspirer, as I like to call it.
The pressure of uni and my work got even more extreme in my last year in Groningen. Blogging and Youtube also really started feeling like work, instead of only a hobby (especially when my own freaking university wanted to collab with me for a vlog. Still, my mind is blown when I think about that). It had evolved into a fulltime business without me really realizing. I had never foreseen that this would happen the way it did. The only thing that I knew was that giving up on one of these things was no option. I did not want to choose between my study and my blog/Youtube, I wanted to do everything (and also preferably in the best way possible. #Perfectionist).
So I tried. Everyday I tried. And almost everyday I felt like I failed. It wasn’t one of those big dramatic failures people only experience a couple of times in their lifetime. Instead, they were these little tiny failures you would think about when you would lay in your bed after a long day. Knowing that you did not finish reading that chapter, realizing you still have a blogpost to write, or seeing your overfilled mailbox… Although these things weren’t as big and dramatic as ‘real’ failures, eventually they did wear me out. I had to face the fact that I did not finish all the tasks I had set out for myself, over and over again. I would start each new day with a huge to do list, whispering to myself that this time it would be different and I would pull through, only to feel like the sand slipped through my fingers once again. Guess I was a real life Sisyphus myth.
“The only constant in life is that nothing in life is constant. It is a peculiar thing, reflecting back on your life and realizing that all those hard moments are now in the past. Even if the memories seem as bright as your fluorescent highlighter, they are still in the past. “
The only constant in life is that nothing in life is constant. It is a peculiar thing, reflecting back on your life and realizing that all those hard moments are now in the past. Even if the memories seem as bright as your fluorescent highlighter, they are still in the past. You survived it. Now that I am writing this I am actually smiling. Because in the end, I have overcome all the difficulties I had to face. And so can you. If you are currently going through the same thing as me, I promise you: you will survive.
I am on my way to another chapter of my life, this time not situated in Groningen, but Washington D.C. These 4 years have had fortunately more ups than downs, but I am honestly thankful for everything that I have experienced. I cannot even begin to describe how many lessons I have learned since I moved there. Hopefully you got to know some of them while reading this blogpost. If only that 18 year old girl knew….
In these 4 years I made Groningen my true home. I am definitely going to miss the city and the beautiful people I have in my life there. It feels amazing to have found people that are so kind, so sincere, and just so plainly awesome, that I can call my friends. However, there’s another group of people that have played a major role in my life and honestly feel like my friends as well: and that’s you. You are a part of my journey as well and I want to thank you for always supporting me. I could not have done it without you all. So I hope that you found this blogpost interesting, inspiring or helpful in any way. Right now it’s time to say goodbye and end this goodbye letter to me. I’m starting a new adventure in Washington D.C. at George Washington Law School (GWU). So let’s begin with writing that new chapter…
Update: if you’re interested in my big move from Groningen to Washington D.C., watch my very first DC Diaries #1 vlog.
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS PERSONAL LETTER. I WOULD LOVE TO READ ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE, LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS DOWN BELOW (IF YOU WANT OF COURSE).