My first year of college was not the type depicted in movies. Even if I didn’t realize it, I had imagined college life to be a typical way, and it did not live up to expectations. I didn’t find a huge group of friends or simply… didn’t fall into many friendships naturally. I realized the standard social events weren’t really for me (drinking, partying, going to frats/game days), but that didn’t stop me from socializing completely. There were clubs to join and people to say hi to in the hall. However, ever since summer started, I began to come to the conclusion that I had a horrible year, that I didn’t make any friends, that my college experience was the opposite of everyone else’s and that I just got more depressed as time went on.
There is only a little truth to that. I’ll start with the truth. I’m pretty sure I did get a little more depressed (if we’re thinking about from August to May), but that wasn’t because I didn’t party.. it was because the future is fucking scary and I’m already an anxious person. I felt like the daily routine had become really meaningless and I don’t think the abnormal amount of rain and gloom helped either. BUT. As I sit here and write this, I’m reminding myself that “Hey. You have gone through a lot in the last 19 years, a lot more than average, and it’s okay to feel a lot downer than others.. it’s pretty normal actually. And your feelings are probably shared by tons of other people, even if it doesn’t seem like that.” Of course, I did feel lonely, but I also have to remind myself.. who doesn’t? College is kinda really lonely anyways.
Now on to the un-truths. It has been a bit more than a month since my summer began, and I can honestly say my freshmen year was not horrible. It definitely wasn’t stereotypical (but could that be a good thing?). Whenever someone asks me how my freshmen year went, I recently have been telling them that it wasn’t great, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for any other. I DID make friends, and I have also learned that you do not need to see friends every day to have friends. High school fucked with my perception of what friendships are, and I can honestly say that the friends I did make in college were genuine friends that I enjoyed having conversations with. In high school, convenience and proximity really take control of friendships made (even if they are of bad quality). College forces you in the most natural way possible to just make friends with people who you ACTUALLY want to talk to. It sounds super easy but honestly it’s taken me over a month to come to this conclusion comfortably.
I feel like a lot of college stereotypes nowadays are also amplified on social media, so if you don’t post the “standard” photos, whether they be from game day, a themed party, or so on, you feel like you’re missing out on “social norms.” This is NOT true. I can say this now. I just spent like the past 30 minutes looking through my own photos and re-reading captions, and I realized how happy I felt in the moment when I posted those images. Not all of them were happy feelings of course, but the number of happy captions really surprised me. I had fun. I made memories. They were not typical or idealized or similar experiences to my friends… but its June 21 and I can (finally) say that is OKAY.
I know this is a lot of word vomit but I am so glad to (kind of) feel comfortable again. One thing that I would like anyone who is reading this to remember is that feeling okay with who you are and what your experiences are may take a long time, but eventually (I believe) you’re able to pull through.