my college experience
College. I started college in 2016. I was excited that whole summer because I got to have a fresh start and leave high school behind me. I moved into a dorm with 3 girls I didn’t know. I chose to live with random girls that year because I wanted to meet new people. I rushed a sorority at the beginning of the school year, and I met a lot of fun and kind people throughout that week. I got into a seemingly great sorority at the end of rush week and then class began the following week. I really liked my schedule; I didn’t have any 8am classes and I didn’t have any classes at all on Friday’s. It felt like I was finally moving on and starting a new, positive chapter of my life. There was always something in the back of my mind that I felt like was holding me back, though…
I was extremely homesick. My school was only about 30 minutes away from my hometown, but I’m so close to my family, especially my mom, so it was hard for me. I have 3 half siblings, but I grew up as an only child, so it was a difficult transition from always having privacy and my own space to having to share my space with 3 other girls, random girls at that. They were sweet and I actually feel lucky that I got paired with normal people, but it was still hard regardless. I began coming home on weekends and then going back to my dorm during the week. As the first semester went on, I began to isolate myself more and I didn’t have as much ambition and excitement as I used to. By the time I came back from Christmas break and started the second semester, I lost touch with most of the friends that I made, and I felt as if I was the loneliest person in the world. I ended up leaving my sorority right before spring break, isolating myself even further.
Aside from being homesick and lonely, something else I was struggling with was a fear of gaining weight. I was terrified of gaining the “freshman fifteen” that year. I feel like I’ve always had a warped perception of what my body looks like. I’m not sure why that is. Anyways, because of this fear, I barely ate. And by barely ate, I mean I would eat one of those “on the go” sized cups of Cheerios during the day, and that would be it except for when I would go home on the weekends where I’d eat real food with my family. I would look in the mirror and I was never satisfied. I don’t want to say I had an eating disorder as I feel like it’d be disrespectful to people who struggle with life-altering eating disorders for years, but I think it was a result of genuine misery and extremely deep depression. I lost almost 20 pounds that year.
I finally made it through the year and summer began. I was able to move back home, and I got a job. I loved that summer because I was finally free from my freshman year shackles. I began to see a therapist to talk through what I went through mentally and emotionally in the past year and it seemed to have helped me for the time being. I also got diagnosed with ADD that summer which makes…too much sense. I’ve struggled in school my whole life and because of the diagnosis, I now understand why. I have over-focused ADD with OCD tendencies. I tend to obsess over and hang on to things well after others have moved on from it. I’ve been that way my whole life, and now I had an answer as to why. It also causes me to experience mood swings but the Adderall (a God send) I was prescribed helped me to control them, Anyways summer passed by quickly, and I ended up moving into an apartment with 3 girls I was friends with from high school. Sophomore year started and it was great. I was so happy, and it felt like my horrific freshman year was a lifetime ago. There are no “buts” coming about this year. It truly was a wonderful year in my life and it’s something I’ll always cherish when I look back on my hellish college experience as a whole. The next year, though, is a different story.
It’s a story I’m not going to get into. It’s personal and it involves others besides myself, but I respect their privacy and lives since we’ve moved on, so I won’t be going into detail. What I will say is that I have many regrets from this year. I did a lot of things that I’m not proud of and would give anything to go back and change them. I didn’t like the person I was that year looking back, and I still don’t understand why I began to revert back to my misery, maybe it never truly went away like I thought it did. Instead of taking it out on myself like my freshman year, I took it out on others. I now take full responsibility for what I did and the people I hurt as a result and that’s something that I feel like took me a long time to do. It was cruel and it’s something I don’t and won’t try to justify anymore. I’m proud to say that I learned from that experience and the person I was then, isn’t who I am now.
After my junior year, I got an internship working at a consulting company. I LOVED this job. I loved the people I met there and made more friends there than what felt like I had in the entirety of my college experience. Real friendships where we could actually bond over something other than just being in the same class like at school. I realized that I was much happier working in a professional environment than I had ever been at school which made me even more excited to graduate. At the end of the summer, the company offered to extend my internship throughout the school year, and I was THRILLED. I was so happy that I was going to be able to leave school and go somewhere where I actually wanted to be during the week.
My senior year started soon after this and it was just…fine. Not bad but not great either. Just fine. Like I said, I was just grateful to be able to have somewhere to go after class that wasn’t just my apartment or somewhere on campus because of my job. My job began to be where I was the happiest, but, of course, school had to FUCK me over one more time. My class schedule for the second semester was Hitler on paper. I had signed up for the maximum amount of classes my school allows students to take, and just looking at it was overwhelming. I wanted to graduate on time in May and this was the only way to do it. I was forced to quit my job that I loved, and I was devastated. I continued to work there all of Christmas break up until the very last weekend before school started. I hugged my friends at work goodbye and began what would be the hardest semester of my entire life.
When I say this is the hardest semester of my life, I don’t mean it’s been hard like my freshman year was hard. I mean that my entire life is consumed with CLASSES. I feel like I never get a break and I’m always dreading tomorrow. I miss my job, and I miss when my thoughts weren’t filled with overwhelming amounts of assignments and due dates. I guess I should say I MISSED these things actually considering that all of my classes have been converted to online because of the virus terrorizing our planet. As sick as this may sound, if I could choose any semester for something like this to happen, I’m glad it was this one. I hate that a virus that is affecting so many people had to be the reason though. I’m typing this THESIS the day after my school announced it was converting to online classes and it feels like a 10,000-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It felt like I was two assignments away from having a legitimate breakdown. This wasn’t at all how I imagined my last day on campus would be like, but…I’m (kinda) done with college. At least in person. Wow.
I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to write this. I think I wanted to do it for myself as a way to finally let go of the of pain and anger I’ve experienced through college. I want to move on with my life now that I’m less than two months away from graduation and stop hanging on to things from the past and regrets that I’ve had that I just can’t change. I tend to act like I have a tough exterior, but behind that, there’s been a lot of pain and insecurity. Some of which I’ve kept to myself. Sometimes, I look back at that 18 year old girl who was burdened with so much sadness and cry. However, I want to let go of all of it. I have to. I also wanted people to know that not every college experience is the same and they’re not always going to be like what people tell you they are or what you see in the movies. I wish someone would’ve told me that. The lows I’ve felt throughout my time in college are things I wouldn’t wish on anyone especially young people experiencing their freedom and independence for the first time. I hope anyone that might read this who hasn’t started college or who is already in college make the most of their time there. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t allow yourself to wallow and fall so deep into a hole that you feel like you can’t get out. Get help if you need it, there’s never any shame in doing so. I’m proud of myself for pushing through and I’m ready to start the life I’ve always wanted for myself. Thank you for making it through a 2 and a half page paper of my woes.