When you’re a senior in high school, all you can think about is graduation and moving off to college to start your new life. But it can be a very daunting experience when you go into college with distorted expectations of what college life will be like. I remember I entered college thinking, “I’ll find my best friends within my first week,” and “I’ll be one of the smartest kids in my class.” I hate to say it, but I was pretty much 100% wrong.
The first couple months of college was really hard for me not because I was overwhelmed with the work but because I felt very alone. I was stressed out and anxious all of the time. I remember I would cry every day, after every single class, because I did not know what else to do, or who to turn to. While I did have a couple of friends to go to, eventually, I started to feel like I was bothering them with my problems. So I stopped talking about it, and when I stopped talking about it, I stopped thinking about it and once I stopped thinking about it, I stopped feeling it and I stopped crying about it.
I became very self-conscious and I started to care way too much about what people thought of me; which was not me a couple months before college. When coming to Kansas City, I thought that I had to be a certain type of person to make friends but the person that I became was not the person that I was happy with. I thought I had to be super nice and always put every single person’s needs ahead of my own. While those are both amazing qualities to have within yourself or a friend, it just was not who I truly was. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to make jokes and for some reason, I didn’t want to speak up and voice my opinion in my friend group. I was once this rock that no one could break down but I transformed into this sponge, soaking up everyone’s opinions of me.
I was very confused as to why I didn’t meet any new friends because I took everyone’s advice and I got involved on campus. I was part of the cheerleading squad and the student activities board. But neither of those things helped me to feel like I belonged. I eventually quit the cheer team because of personal reasons and because I felt like cheerleading wasn’t something that I enjoyed to do anymore — it was a high school part of me and I wanted to leave my high school life behind me. I also tried to distance myself from my family and high school friends because I thought that that was what I needed to do in order to become a happy college kid. But I think separating myself from my friends and family was probably the worst thing I could have done. I was embarrassed to call them because I felt like they would think that I was weak and that I couldn’t handle college for doing so. But instead of being judgmental, they gave me advice and listened to me cry until I felt like I could get out of bed, and be a productive member of the student body. For some reason, I had forgotten that they were my support system and even when they didn’t understand everything I was telling them, they helped me and supported me in every choice that I made.
I’m definitely more of an introvert so I really like to just stay in and watch a good show or movie. But I felt like my introverted side was being discouraged because I felt like, if I didn’t go out, then I would miss out on something. So I tried really hard not to miss any party or any campus event but eventually I started to become so exhausted with all of the parties and events that I felt like I was lost. I didn’t know what I liked to do anymore and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But my best friend gave me a great piece of advice, that really helped me get through the first semester and even now. It was something like, if you would be happy doing it back at home, then why can’t you do it here. Meaning, if I was happy just spending the weekend in my room back in St. Louis, then why can’t I do it in KC? With that advice, it helped me rediscover my introverted side and it helped me not feel so self-conscious about it.
Going onto my second semester of college, I am still struggling with putting myself out there but I am also realizing that I can have a perfectly fine weekend in my dorm with my Modern Family. I have grown in a variety of ways throughout my first few months of college and I expect to continue to grow throughout the rest of my time in college. I have lost myself in different ways but I have also found myself in many others. I might not know exactly who I am at the current moment but I know that I am on the right path to who I want to become.