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Pre-Hopkins, whenever I was asked who my role models were, my answer was immediate; almost mechanically, I would respond with, “my mother and Audrey Hepburn.” One from real life who taught me what it is to be both strong and kind, and one who taught me what grace and elegance are but whose character I could only infer from others’ encounters.
Sometimes I feel as though I might be a naturally self-destructive person; in hindsight, some of the decisions I’ve made in the past appear completely discombobulated. In these moments, I end up simply wondering how a person could be so stupid. We all have our moments of failure big and small.
We’ve all watched Mean Girls, and while it’s understandable that we would like to relate most to Cady Heron, even she did some pretty catty and immature things. In high school, for most of us girls, “gossip” was synonymous with “hanging out.” Seemingly harmless yet vindictive and downright bitchy comments were ubiquitous.
It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. Eating, studying, hanging out and maybe even sleeping with the same people makes you pretty familiar, I would say. And regardless of the fact that you may only have known them for a couple of months, constant close quarters may mean that they have granted themselves explicit permission to comment and advise you — without being prompted — on matters ranging from the trivial to the all-too personal.
Okay. Just breathe, San. These are your people. You’re all in the same boat. Just hide your manicure in your jacket pocket so they don’t think you care too much about superficial crap.
The first semester of college, my independence was tested more than ever. There was the first time I was late for or skipped a class and had no one to blame but myself. Or the first time I forewent studying an extra hour for a test to irresponsibly hang out with the cute guy I had just met. Last but not least, the first time I ate six bowls of mac and cheese and a few brownies, and then skipped the gym, simply because I could.