The first month of college, a reflection

I’ve been at college for a month now, and it’s quite an unreal feeling. To think that just a little bit ago, I was still living at home, writing pre-college to-do lists and having nightmares about the unknown is pretty bizarre. Time moves so fast.

I didn’t really know to expect going into college, no matter how many blog posts I read. College and college students themselves seemed way above me. I grew up looking at college students as though they were people much older and wiser as I--they were no longer going to school because they had to, they were going to school because they wanted to. They were there, paying to attend classes that gave them the opportunity to find a well-paying career they loved; they were paving the rest of their lives. They knew what they wanted to do, they knew what their purpose was.

I didn’t feel prepared at all. Or, you could say I just wasn’t in the right mindset. I was so absorbed in boys, yoga, and my own personal well-being… I had no idea why I was going to college, really, and I had no clue what I was going to do when I got there. Would I even make friends? Was I ready to study for hours on end, when I didn’t even know if I was studying the right things regarding the success of my future? Anxiety was bubbling in my stomach during those few weeks before college, and I never once left my family’s side, terrified of what might happen if I did.

In late August, my family helped me move in. My mom and sister helped me decorate while my dad and brother carried up the boxes. Afterward, my family and I had lunch, said our heartfelt goodbyes, and that was it--I was officially a college student, alone in this new world, (definitely not) ready to face whatever was approaching. I was stuck in an attack position, so worried about everything when it hadn’t even started yet. It was like all my mindfulness training simply disappeared within moments.

That night, I got dinner in the school union with a friend I had met at orientation. Him and I caught up, and together we had a lot of fun. It was satisfying to know I had at least one friend I could talk to.

We walked back, and I spent my first night in my dorm. It was weird, being away from my family, from my cats, in an unfamiliar place. It was only the first night, but it felt like I had already been away for weeks. I missed my family… but then again, it was relieving to be on my own, to finally be independent and have that freedom.

But, evidently there was much more going on--I had a lot of emotions clouding within. More than I could handle, actually, to the point where even meditation wasn't helping.

The weeks went on, and at first it felt like I was being dragged behind, always trying to catch up with everyone else, trying to find my way. On the second day of First Flight week (basically an introduction week for incoming freshmen), I had a breakdown and had to spend a few hours meditating in my dorm. I had a lot of breakdowns, actually, and I don’t really know why. It wasn’t anything in-particular--it was all just weird, and crazy, and the world around me was moving so fast. There are still nights when I'd lie in my bed and stare at the ceiling and I wonder to myself, “Where has my life gone?” I’ve been harder on myself, too, since college has started: I find myself saying things like, “Brittney, you’re an adult now, get your life together," when all I'm doing is watching Youtube, something I used to do all the time and now feel guilty doing.

As time ticks by, I realize that it’s completely okay not to have your life together. In fact, it’s quite bizarre to truly know what you’re doing. Life isn’t supposed to be figured out--even the wisest person probably knows this, and this is why they’re wise.

So far, college life has been an emotional roller-coaster that is both beautiful and horrible. Horribly beautiful is a good way to describe it, aha. I couldn’t figure out how to accurately explain it either. I was going to write this in chronological order of everything that’s happened so far, but I feel like it'd be too much. So then I was going to talk only about the highlights and the low points, but that didn’t seem like enough. So eventually, I decided to organize this blog post by talking about the people, because the people are the things that have shaped my college experience the most. It’s not the food, or the walking, or even the classes (although this is a huge factor, of course)--it’s the people, who really make college what it is. So, without further ado...

The roommate

Thankfully, my roommate is absolutely amazing. She’s chill, neat, fun (hilarious is more suiting), and overall, she’s a great person. Of course, we aren’t best friends, we don’t get many meals together or go to clubs and events together, but for roommates, we’re pretty close. We don’t have scheduled cleaning days, but we clean anyways, being sure not to put our personal things in each other’s space, nor disturb each other. When one has classes before the other, we’re careful to be quiet and courteous of the other, and we only bring friends into the dorm if we first ask, being mindful of one another's privacy.

I’ll admit, I was lucky. I was assigned for random roommate selection, so I could’ve gotten someone absolutely insane. I thank God every day that I was paired with a good, friendly roommate who I can always turn to at the end of a long day.

My roommate and I have gotten closer, too, as the weeks drift by. That happens, I guess--sharing a space with someone just naturally brings y'all together.

Roommates I’ve realized, too, have such an interesting relationship--you tend to talk about the weird things that you don’t talk about with anyone else. Maybe that’s just me, though… maybe I’m just weird.

Befriend your roommate, even if y’all don’t have anything in common. Please… just do it. You’ll thank yourself for it. They could be the most incredible person.

But, if not? Don’t sweat. There are plenty of people to befriend. However, if your roommate is plain horrible, don’t hesitate to speak with your RA.

The suite-mates

Suite-mates, I think, have an even stranger relationship. You share a bathroom, and that’s really it; you bond through using the same toilet.

You walk in on them naked sometimes, and you hear their music from all the way in your room because there are literal holes in the door (which makes it really hard for certain things), and the only time you really talk if y’all leave both your doors open, and everyone is in their rooms, and you're almost forced to talk. I think bathroom clean-up is the most awkward thing, too, because obviously, the bathroom needs to be cleaned, but no one really volunteers to do it, or at least, everyone ignores it, and that okay--until, of course, it smells like someone died and the floors are sticky and it’s just plain gross.

Luckily I don’t have an incredibly awkward relationship with my suite-mates. I mean, some people I know have spoken less than ten words to theirs. I have two suite-mates, of course, and I’ve recently gotten fairly close with one. She’s so sweet, and late at night, her, my roommate and I have intense conversations regarding boys, school, and hallway drama. The other? She’s sweet, too, but let’s just say she brought in a 2-week-old kitten into the dorm and… that’s all I’ll say, really (big oof).

Try your best to befriend your suite-mates. Or, at least know their names. They’re always handy to have if you need to rant to or study with when your roommate isn’t there or your friends are busy. Who knows--they could potentially become your best friends.

The people in my hall

There are many different people in my hall. There are the awesome, nice girls who are always studying and finding potential bachelors in their free time (don’t hesitate to befriend the smart people).

There are the party people, who are gone every Friday and Saturday (and most other days, too). I don’t really talk to them, but I’m sure they’re great people regardless.

There are the druggies, who are out smoking most nights (and most mornings, too). And when I say druggies, I mean… stay clear, if possible.

There are the chill, laid-back people who are secret nerds and are truly awesome people. They introduced me to a chess club, and I get meals with them sometimes. I eat breakfast with one of them three times a week and him and I have actually become close friends.

The thing is--everything you’ve probably heard concerning the people at college is probably true, and they all (probably) live in your hall. And the beauty of this? You can be part of any group you’d like. My advice is to meet everyone, introduce yourself, but choose your group wisely. Choosing wrongly can lead to not-so-good places.

The people in my classes

I’m a pretty social person, which makes meeting people pretty easy for me, for the most part. I’ve gone out of my way to meet people, especially people in my classes. I’ve befriended girls my age, some living on campus and some commuting. I’ve met guys, too. And I’ve met a few upperclassmen. I’ve also befriended a twenty-six-year-old guy, who lives about forty-five minutes from Denton and is returning to school for his Master’s.

It’s scary to start fresh and make all new friends--frankly, I’m not in high school anymore, and all the people in my classes are new faces. But, emerging from my comfort zone has been paying off, because if I have a question on an assignment, I shoot a text to a few different people and the question is usually answered (sometimes not, though, because even upperclassmen don’t know what they’re doing here). And classes are not so boring when you have people to play tic-tac-toe with/make jokes with when the professor starts rambling again.

The group

Somehow, during my first week in college, I became a part of a group. I don’t really know how it happened, but I met some girls at an ice cream social, and they had mentioned playing capture the flag later that evening. I was interested (and also needed friends), so I asked to join them. And they kindly said, “Of course!”

I invited a guy friend I had met at Eagle Camp, and he brought along his roommate. We all played capture the flag together (I didn’t really play, though, because I’m quite the opposite of competitive), and it was a blast. Every night after, for the next few nights, we were together, whether it was in someone’s dorm playing cards, in the union eating food, or watching a movie somewhere. Two days after capture the flag, I drove everyone to Denton to explore. We were The Group, and it was an amazing feeling to be a part of it.

After the first few weeks, however, we sort of began drifting. It happened when classes started and everyone found different clubs and got preoccupied. I still talk to the people in the group, of course, and we still get together sometimes.

Regardless, I'm glad I found a group, and I suggest you find a group, too, whether you think you are good at socialization, or not. Find four people, or even one, and do things with them, give them gifts, invite them to campus events. Just get out there and have fun!

Spend college (or at least the beginning of it) exploring your interests, meeting people who have similarities. Find your forever friends, make those bonds with people who are all ages, all majors… just meet people! Meet the people in your hall, befriend your roommate and your suite-mates, talk to people in your classes, and even further, join clubs and talk to the people in those clubs, or maybe even meet someone in Starbucks or in a dining hall or just on the way to class. Everyone is in the same boat--nobody knows anyone, and nobody knows what they’re doing… it doesn’t matter how well they hide it, they're all terrible at hiding it. And, like I said before, it's okay, because it's normal not to have everything figured out. Just be honest with yourself, and do the best you can at everything you do.

So, yes. College life has been insane, but magically so. And I wouldn’t ask for it any other way, because although I’ve had many breakdowns, have watched people come and go, I’ve become such a strong person during this short time span.

Oh, and just because I've met a lot of people, I’ve had to spend time alone, too. A lot of time, actually, and I’ve had to learn how to be okay with it, teach myself not to call myself lonely. I am alone right now, and that perfectly okay. It's a wonderful feeling, actually, to be alone, and to enjoy it. Me time is essential, and some people don't realize this until later on. Of course, you want to say "yes" to everything in college (besides parties, and drugs, and... you get the point), but saying "no" is okay, too.

Everything you’re doing is okay, everything that’s happening is okay. You will always have people who've got your back, and you will always find a way out of any ditch in your path. That’s the beauty of college--figuring out your way through people, but equally on your own… finding your strengths and learning to pick yourself up with your own hands.

In a nutshell, meet people, learn to love yourself, and don't get too carried away with anything. All in all, it hasn't been too bad--in fact, it's been truly amazing... every bit of it.

My first month of college is over, and I hardly recognize myself. But, life goes on, so you must go on, and I must go on, and we're all still moving. For better or worse, here I go into the expanding abyss that is this life.

Probably writing,


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