Personal Update : I am my own phoenix

It feels like a lifetime since I actually posted something other than just photographs or essays on here (most likely because it has been), and I figured it was time for an update.

I’m on the final countdown to the end of my sophomore year, which is crazy to think about. Wasn’t I just posting about my freshman year finishing? It’s absolutely terrifying how quickly college is going by and I find myself scrambling to figure out if I’m truly a responsible adult or just a child pretending to know what’s going on.

My classes have been amazing this semester. I’m only taking three: Cinema Aesthetics, Digital Art, and Corporate Publishing (a graphic design class). The best part about this semester hasn’t just been that I’m only taking three classes, but that these classes represent everything I want to do when I’m out of college. They’ve all connected with each other in different ways and I’ve been able to take skills from each one to the next. Thanks to these classes, I’m finally building up confidence that I’m not actually crazy and that I really could make a career out of my passions.

I recently had a conversation with one of my best friends about how scary the future is. What if I’m actually bad at what I choose to do? What if it actually doesn’t make me happy? What do I do then?

We live in a world where we are expected to have our life figured out when we graduate, and that’s a very scary realization, especially when you’re looking outside the norm of a typical nine to five type of job. What if what I love isn’t enough?

Amongst the anxiety of the future looming overhead, I’ve managed to have a great 2014 so far. I’ve made a lot of new friends and had many new experiences, all helping me grow and celebrate the life I’ve been blessed enough to have. I’ve been able to push myself in my interests and see what I’m able to create, proving myself to my peers, professors, and even myself.

But the biggest news of 2014 falls under the golf part of my life. The other week we were competing down in Jacksonville, FL. Surrounded by friends and family, we found ourselves in 3rd place after the first and second day. We were in a similar spot last year, and I’m sure close friends and families remember the tear-jerk/disaster of an ending. And of course, our final day brought winds up to 35mph. All morning we would catch ourselves changing “if we win” to “when we win.” It was all I could do to keep my nerves in check as I went up to the first tee, the memory of my quadruple-bogey all too clear from the previous year. Yet somehow I found myself on the course that day, calmer than I have ever been. Wind gusts brought me back to high school tournaments in Twin Falls and Pocatello, where you hit and pray and let the wind do its thing. There wasn’t a green I felt I couldn’t read and I found myself dropping putt after putt, burning edge after edge. Walking from the tee box on one whole, bag swung over my shoulder and the wind pushing into my face with the hot sun burning down, I felt the realization. We could do this. I only saw my coach twice that day (both times I drained a 12+ foot birdie putt), and I chose to not ask how my team was doing. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t add up my own score as much as I normally do. Four birdies later, I was even going into the last hole. And in true Kathryn fashion, I bogeyed it with a three putt. Heaven forbid I make this sport easy on myself.

I received nervous thumbs up and smiles from my teammates as I walked to the scorer’s tent. Somehow after everything, it looked like we might have pushed our way to the top. But it wasn’t until I heard the screams that we knew we had done it. I ran up the hill from the scoring table to my teammates and our families. My teammate Emily had been in the group behind me, and after watching me three-putt, my coach had turned to her and said, “Just put it in.” Like a good athlete, she listened to her coach and put it in from the fairway for an eagle.

From then on it was like the smiles couldn’t be erased. All of the wins in high school, the heartbreak from Florida last year, none of it could have prepared me for what it felt like to win a college tournament. Once we were all in and the deal was sealed, we couldn’t stop screaming, laughing, almost crying with joy. Even now I get goosebumps just thinking about it. To top it off they had an amazing burrito buffet in the clubhouse so it’s hard to get any better than that. We spent at least an hour taking photos afterwards, even running onto the 18th green to take a team photo.

It had been four years since the Elon women’s golf team had won a tournament.

With that now behind us, the trophy brought home, and the team championship flag hanging in my room, we move onto the rest of the season. The next three weekends are going to be filled with tournaments as we make that final stretch. Just two more tournaments and then we’ll be on our way to conference. And sadly, once these next three weekends are done, we’ll only have four weeks left of school and I’ll be an upperclassman.

2014 has taken on a life of its own, far surpassing 2013, a year I will gladly leave behind. So here’s to pushing through the struggles and finishing strong. If last year was a personal death, then this year is the rise from the ashes. I am my own phoenix.


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Kathryn Buckingham

Graphic designer in Washington D.C., occasionally will update my blog with an assortment of photography, literature and film analysis, as well as some personal thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Personal Update : I am my own phoenix”

  1. Fantastic essay! Mrs. Barnett (remember her from when you were in Florida with your Dad years ago) read it also and we were both blown away! May you always be so insightful and perceptive about your life and where you are going!

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