Honestly, I cant wrap my brain around the fact that my freshman year of college has reached finals week and is coming to an end. Not long ago did it feel like I was at my graduation party answering the question “what day do you move in” so many times that I was temped to tattoo *AUGUST 21st* across my forehead.
I was scared to death to leave home and be on my own for the first time, regardless of how excited I was at the same time. I wanted to meet new people and make friends that I’d keep for the rest of my life and all the stuff everyone tells you that happens to you in college. The day that my mom and dad left me up in Kent marked a turning point in my life, I just didn’t know it yet. College slowly changed me in ways that I would have never expected and continues to change me as I keep growing. It also helped me to realize so much about myself and what I want in life.
First, I learned (the hard way) that you don’t make best friends automatically. I was under this dillusion that I would meet all of these people and have a ton of friends, and all the baggage that I was carrying from high school would just melt away. It doesn’t happen like that. Especially for me who isn’t the most outgoing person there is. I cried a lot the first few months because I was sitting in my room and not doing things that college kids were “supposed” to be doing. Comparing myself to everyone else made me exhausted and extremely unhappy. What I didnt realize was that I needed to give myself more credit and give myself a break. Adjusting was hard. And I shouldn’t have expected to have been completely fine right off the bat. When I came back from break, things began to get better. The transition period was over, I had settled into my niche, I was used to class by now, and even better, I started making more friends. When I didn’t try to force it so had, things happened naturally. Gradually, the girls next door, across the hall and my roommate, all started hanging out and it was the greatest thing that could have happened. They are the best group of girls and they make me laugh on my bad days and pick me up when I’m down, and I hope they know how thankful i am for them.
College forced me to deal with the overwhelming struggle that was my eating disorder. Before heading to school, I had anxiety about gaining weight while I was away. What if i didnt have time to make it to the gym? How was I going to face being constantly surrounded by food? What about the calories in alcohol? Even though therapy was supposed to help me through this, I was still a nervous wreck. In the first few months, I ended up dropping more weight which concerned my parents even more. The stress of the new environment definitely wasn’t helping my cause. Eventually, as I slipped into a routine, my weight leveled off and i knew i had to make serious changes to gain weight. My eating habits became less regimented and the rules that I made for myself became less real. I thank school for this. Learning to say “f it” once in a while and loving yourself for where you are in the moment makes life so much more fun.
What I think i owe college for the most is what I’ve learned about myself. I might be a 55 year old in a 19 year old’s body who likes to watch the Today Show with my cup of coffee, prefer to bake cookies on a Friday night, and can barely stay up past 10:30. And sometimes, thats okay. I cant change myself, but the other thing about college is that it has taught me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things. Never would i have thought id sing karaoke or run for an officer position of a club. Success and failures ultimately shape the person you turn out to be. Stepping out of your bubble is how you discover who you are, and now is the perfect time to take the opportunity.