Yesterday I got coffee with one of my readers who is a high school senior looking at Lehigh. I love meeting you guys in real life and getting to put faces to names on a screen! It means so much to have the opportunity to form those kinds of connections and experience the benefits of blogging.
Another benefit... I am fortunate in having a space where I can really talk about whatever I want and no one can tell me I can't, and there are people out there who I know I can relate to, influence, and potentially help as a result of sharing my experiences. There are those of you who always comment, email, reach out and respond to me about what I share that makes me feel so much better, too. Blogging really is a two-way street! So, today, I want to talk a little bit about my experience throughout this first month and a half of college and tell you all how it has really been for me, openly and honestly.
A lot of preparing for college is signing up for classes, making sure forms are in, papers are signed, various tasks are checked off a list, and dorms are planned out to decoration perfection. Heading into college, a big worry is how a roommate situation will play out, if you have the right going out clothes, if you've stocked up on the cutest dorm decor, etc. However, the things that matter once you're moved into college and starting to live on your own aren't really those same things. What my dorm looks like doesn't mater at all... Going out isn't something I enjoy at Lehigh, so I don't really care about my clothes... My roommate situation is whatever. The things that matter now are things I never even considered before school, or things that ever crossed my mind.
When I was younger, I went to summer camp about an hour and a half away from my house. My parents dropped me off and I stayed for a week in a cabin with girls and a counselor, and it was like the highlight of my year. I made so many friends, had the best time, and every single year, I would call my parents the day before the last day and beg them to let me stay another week. I never wanted to leave. I was never homesick, I never even got upset when they dropped me off at camp, only when I had to go back home at the end.
Sophomore year of high school when my parents got divorced and my dad moved to Rhode Island, it was definitely a change, but I was used to him traveling for work and tried convincing myself that this was just as if he was taking more business trips and they were lasting longer. I didn't miss him as much as I could've expected to, and I was okay with that.
But, since being at Lehigh, I haven't had a similar experience. I have been homesick. I have missed my friends, my boyfriend, and my family. When my mom left and dropped me off after move-in, I couldn't look at her when I got out of the car because I didn't want to lose it and start bawling. When Jack drove me to the airport and hugged me goodbye, I was crying so hard that the people working at security kept asking me mom what was wrong with me. The first three weeks of school I called my mom crying every single night. I've considered transferring. I've gone out less than a handful of times to parties. I've made friends, and I love my classes, but college is not what I expected.
College is worked up to be such a grand experience of freedom and fun, and it hasn't been that for me. It's been so, so much harder than I thought. College is so many changes all at once, and as much as it's portrayed as the most idyllic time in our lives, it's not necessarily that way for everyone. It's only been a month and a half and I completely understand that giving it more time and trying to make the best of it is my only option and that it can improve, but I've learned a lot about myself in the process. A part of learning about yourself means that it's okay to realized you're not the same person you were, or think you are. In college, you're so, so independent. You're constantly surrounded by people, but you're forced to make every decision for yourself. I went out a lot in high school, and to be honest, I don't here. I don't have that urge. My mom knew I partied in high school and she was a really, really cool mom about it. Here, she isn't here to tell me what time to be home or whether or not I can sleep at my friend's house, but I know my limits. I know how to make good choices, and I've learned a lot about myself when it comes to what really makes me happy. That's the thing... it's an environment that offers you everything and you have to learn what to take and what to let go of.
It's hard for me everyday to wake up, go to class, and walk around campus thinking that I applied Early Decision to this school and I put myself here. It's hard to dislike it when I have so many incredible opportunities that other people might not have. It's hard to miss my friends, to miss Jack, to miss my mom and dad and to miss home. But it's all a part of the process. There are so many opportunities that come out of it, and sometimes you have to suck it up and take it day by day because it's all you can do.
Freshman year of college is hard. There are so many changes all at once, and sometimes it can be really, incredibly overwhelming. To be completely honest, I am so scared to go home this weekend. I am legitimately afraid to be reunited with people I love and to be home because I am so scared that I won't be able to get on that plane on Tuesday and come back. This weekend when my dad was in town I even begged him to help me find somewhere to transfer in January so I don't have to return at the semester. Freshman year is just hard. It's something to power through. It's something that you have to stick through to realized in the end what you want. Maybe Lehigh will turn out not to be the perfect fit for me... but maybe it will. I need to give it more time, and the solution will appear, no matter which direction that solution takes me in.
Thank you for letting me vent and for being the best listeners. To anyone going through a similar transition experience, you're not alone. SO many people are feeling this way and it's so valid to be uncertain of what you want or how you feel.
Hopefully I didn't ramble too much :)