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).
SO so inspiring Lilia !
This academic year was so tough for me… I came back from Erasmus – best 4 months of my life – in May 2016… It was the time of my life honestly! But then everything went down hill from there. I was willing to start a Master program abroad but, because I missed the registration, I couldn’t start the program I wanted this year. So I decided to go to a school in Brussels – my home town- with the same program. I didn’t like it at all… In October, I applied for the Master Program abroad and I eventually get admitted to a university in Sweden – the dream (yayyy). I dropped out from the school in Brussels and I was left with nothing… I had nothing to do… I was just waiting for the days to pass. I also had to deal with some heart matter (a chaotic long distance relationship)… Finally, June came… I went on vacation.. And now I’m leaving for Sweden in a week. I’m so excited to start a new adventures. I need it, I crave it!
Lilia, I wish you all success in DC. Keep on doing amazing things and inspire us!
Which university in Sweden are you going to? 🙂
I’m going to Uppsala University 🙂
Enjoy, it’s really fun there! 🙂
Have you ever studied there?
Any tips is appreciated 😉
Stay strong girl. <3
Wauw.. zo gaaf om te lezen hoe ver je bent gekomen! Super inspirerend<3 Heel veel plezier met het schrijven van je nieuwe hoofdstuk in Washington DC! X
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Dankje Emma <3
I don’t usually comment on Blogposts or Youtube Videos or something like that, but this Time I feel like I NEED to write one. As I’m reading through your post, my eyes get’s wet and I get all the feelings at once. It felt so emotional, so real, that I can totally related to it. I’m going through very taff times as well, but I’m always believing that something better is there on the way for me. Lilia, I wish you the best Time in D.C. and hope that you come back with all the knowledge and that you take all the Changes that Life has planned for you. Wishing you the best. xx
Aww so sweet of you, thank you <3
A month from now I’ll be living a new chapter in my life: college. I am extremely nervous, because I’ve never been away from home and I want so bad to succeed, but at the same time, I don’t know how. I guess this is nervous, since Ii just finished high school and, as I said, this is a new chapter in my life.
I hope that, just like you, I will survive and I will succeed. You have been such a HUGE role model for me, and I cannot thank you enough.
I want to grow up, clean my mind, create a new me and learn new things, just like you did. I look at you and I see someone that I want to be like, someone that can inspire me to be better, and most of all, to not give up, to keep trying every single day.
Besides all this, I’m so nervous and there’s nothing right now that can ease my mind, It’s a month away and I do not feel ready.
While reading these 4 chapters, I felt like I could relate. Like maybe, in the beginning, it’s going to be hard. But then I’ll get used to it, right?
Anyways… Lilia, once again, thank you so so so much for being a role model. I’m “one in a million” – as I’m referring to all the lives you’ve changed.
PS- I’m constantly waiting for new updates from your new house or even a tour through Washington!! (please do a house tour once is ready!) <3
That is so kind of you, thanks Jules <3
I loved it. Proud of you Lilia!
Aw thank you <3
Lilia, I wish you all the best in DC! I can relate a lot to your experiences in the last 4 years…Of course not the same happened to me but it just feels like I’m reading my own diary.
You’re a really strong person and I admire that a lot!❤️
Thankyou Lilian, glad it felt like that <3
I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world!
I hope that your new life in D.C will be incredible and fun! 😀
Uni struggle is real. I have found your youtube channel last year when I was searching for an inspiration video.
Even since then I’ve become your biggest fan. I fall in love with your video and the way you have inspired me.
I spent my 2 years in the faculty of dentistry, which I ended up did not like it.Dentistry program was very tough and the fact that I did not feel the love
in it, make it even worse. This year I have set up my mind and transfer to the Diplomacy field, which is International relationship program.
After the summer semester that I have been studied in the new program for 2 months, I am truly satisfied. I feel great and passionate when it comes to studying.
I would say it is a big thank for you, I feel like you motivated me to do what I love. And when ever I feel struggle or lack of energy, your video is the key.
Seeing your progress toward your goals and all things you achieved is very pleasing. And the fact that you share your journey with us is the best thing,
it gives me the feeling that I always have one friend who is walking with me and help suggest many good things.
Always support you. Fan from Thailand.
So glad to hear this Dyna, thank you <3
This post reminded me of my years at the university! Oh so many good memories! I wish you the best Lilia!
Have an amazing day,
Ioanna | http://thecolourfulbouquet.com/
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You inspire me so much Lilia, I am happy for your next chapter in life. I pray that you find happiness, love, and success in all that you set out to do. You are a star and I wish you beautiful days ahead. Love, Sue
Thanks Sue <3
Really, really inspiring blog post. I loved it. It feels like it was written from your true heart. Studies are always a special moment in life. People are growing up during this time, gaining life experience. It is special, and very important time. So all you need is to take a chance, follow your heart and intuition and keep going. Moving to DC seems like a BIG adventure. Can’t wait to see what your future will bring. Love you, Inspiring Girl! 🙂
It was, thank you <3
Je hebt zoveel bereikt in 4 jaar tijd, je mag echt trots zijn op jezelf <3 Al herken ik het stukje over failure wel, ik heb dat ook als ik op een dag niet zoveel heb gedaan als ik had gepland. Maar soms is dat gewoon zo, laat het je niet teveel beïnvloeden, want je bent zo goed bezig! Heel veel plezier en succes in Washington, you can do it <3
anna recently posted…LEUKE DINGEN VAN DE AFGELOPEN TIJD | ZOMER-EDITIE
This is so inspiring. Sometimes the path we think is ours is actually for someone else. Stories like these is why I started Lawyer’d Magazine. Law is never as television portrays. We are real people behind the ideology.
Very inspiring, reading your post just makes me realise that growth and facing obstacles is part of the journey. Me going through some hard times is finally allowing myself to trust my journey as it will only leave me stronger. It’s such a beautiful thing as a follower to see you grow over the years and do wish you all the best with your next adventures in DC… oh and keep slaying girl :)xx
A Girl’s Journal
Aww thank you so much girl <3
I can’t remember how I discovered your blog in my senior year of high school but I’m so glad that I did. Your blog is such a breath of fresh air! Seeing someone who can juggle between school and blogging, being real with the ‘not so good’ things in life and conquer it with POSITIVITY is VERY motivating. I too love to write and the fact that you inspired so many people (including myself) with your writing make me want to do the same. YOU made me realize that we could make a difference by doing the things we love.
I just started a new chapter in my life in Australia (I’m from Indonesia). First time studying in University and living alone is quiet daunting. Wish you all the best in D.C.
P.s. Could you give some advise on how to start a blog?
Aww thank you so much, it really means a lot to me! Good luck with everything and stay tuned for Miss Independent Mag 😉 xo
omg, this is so inspiring :”))
…and i don’t know what to comment other than those words lol maybe bcs my life have not reaching to the point of what you tell us up there, but it is a life lesson i learned first so if that time in my life come, i will fully prepared… :’D
aww thank you <3
I’m so happy for you!
Best of luck! x
Hi Lilia, not sure if you’ll read my comment, after all it’s been a while since your post, but really not only have you been such intimidatingly amazing, but you’ve also admirably chased your dreams. And those times you mentioned of failures? Nothing has resonated with me so strongly before.
You see it was always a childhood dream of mine to be a lawyer, and all though primary and secondary school, I had always been more or less at the top of the class. But then In junior college I was unmotivated and unhappy with the big change in my school environment and felt like I didn’t fit in. My academics suffered, but it was a huge blow to me when I was informed at the end of the year I would’ve be graduating to year 2 with the rest of my peers. I felt ashamed and so embarrassed and could not bring myself to face the facts.
And with every person that I told, from my parents to my Sister whom I worshipped, to my friends and my peers, I felt like a disappointed everyone.
I had to the redo my first year, and start from scratch. I had to meet new people all over again; a skill which was under developed to begin with; and long since gave up on my dream. Every little failure from forgetting to do my homework to an audition I felt wasn’t good enough, along with the stigma of being “a revisiting student”- I had opportunities that weren’t granted equally to me and leadership positions that i had been stripped off of.
But the curious thing is that because I thought I couldn’t fall any further, I began focussing less on my failures and more on just enjoying the little great things in life. I found my best friends and renewed my love of theatre and the literary arts. By the end of the year, I was elected chair person of my class, earned two leads in my school plays and even was offered by my school to take on an extra literary paper for my A levels! And among my prep and my self journey towards improving myself, I stumbled upon your channel and found a kindred spirit; someone who valued creativity as much as striving for what they wanted. So I booted my laptop, fired off an application, picked out an interview outfit and put myself out there.
This week, I start my first week of law school, and I love every minute of it. Sure I don’t know anyone in my university, but I’m reminded that if I could survive the past 20 years of my life, I can survive whatever’s coming next.
i don’t think I could be my happier than I am now, and I’m sure that with all the exciting things coming up your way, you’ll be just as excited as I am with the future!
All the best!
Aww thank you for sharing this personal story <3
good luck in DC! I am looking forward to following your journey and semester on YouTube 🙂
Thank you! xo