Memoirs of a College First Year #5

I can’t really say I’m a first year anymore for much longer. I shouldn’t really say that now, since I’ve already been to community college before this, but it’s the easiest explanation as mentioned before. My final grades are in, grades I am not exactly proud of, but they’re in. I passed everything at least. This is more of a reflection post, I suppose, since I can mostly only write of what I have learned seeing as I am now at home for the summer hoping and praying for a job. Too many false hopes already.

I’ve changed over this year. I guess being away from the town you’ve been in for decades does that to someone, meeting new friends helps, too. I’m still a hopeless romantic who would much rather build castles in the sky, living in them endlessly, but I am still aware of the real world and the difficulties there. But that doesn’t stop me from hoping and dreaming. It doesn’t stop me from thinking of fantastical things every second of every day, even if I know those imaginings are unreachable or, at the very least, near impossible to grab without a fight. Even with the similarities to how I have been, I know I’ve grown a bit. I’ve accepted a few things about myself, mostly emotion-wise. I’ve changed some plans for my career path, mostly in the way of back up plans. None of my dreams have changed, none of my wants have changed, but I’m more…out of my shell i guess you could say. I want to say that I’m more like I used to be, since god knows I’m still getting over things from when I was little and fresh faced, But I know that’s more or less impossible, since that ‘used to be’ was when I was in kindergarten. Ah, the easy years. Nap times that I hated but would love now, nice people, nice teachers… So I can’t exactly be like I used to be, but I think I’m getting closer to how much more outgoing I had been. Hard to believe maybe, but I used to be less shy. Shyness for me is more of a learned trait.

Trying to think of what I have learned is definitely harder than I thought. But the funny thing is, the fact that I haven’t learned anything is probably good. I like to think that means that I am about as ‘grown’ as I’ll get. But I’ve had to deal with new problems. Not of my own, since my problems, as they are, have existed since before I went away to my four-year college. But I’ve had to help other people, my group of friends, with their’s. Some have been similar to other issues that have cropped up in the past, while others have been completely new. I suppose that’s a bit of what I’ve learned, new ways to deal with different things that people go through.

Other than being a bit more outgoing and what I count as socially brave, I think I’ve stayed the same. My friends have told me that I am more out of my shell, as I mentioned, than when they first met me, but that’s about it. Perhaps I am a bit more confident about my looks. I still think I’m average, but I also think I’m a pretty average. So that’s an improvement. Realizing I have a slender hourglass figure helped there, too. But I’m not sure I can count coming out of my shell as truly changing, since that is really just me showing more of how I am. It’s not me being different, only me being…more me.

So I’m going to keep building my castles in the sky, even if my pessimism will make reaching them difficult. The castles with all their fantasies will stay and they’ll wait for me. At least most of them will wait. For the ones that won’t wait, I’m still working on trying to make them happen. I know some won’t happen, and that breaks my heart, but I don’t plan to give up so easily. I might cry a little in the process of doing what I can, I might ache more often than I would like to, but I’m going to hope. I’ll hope until there’s no reason to hope any more.

You know, maybe clinging to hope is something I’ve learned. I used to see no point in hoping, no point in thinking things will go how I would like them to. I would dismiss idle fantasies until there was a lot of things pointing to it happening. Now…now my fantasies are stronger. Now my hopeless romanticism gets its own cloud castle. This is good in its own way. It might hurt when they crash down, but it’s good for now.

I just hope the coming years are just as helpful as this has been. I hope to keep the friends I have made, see them go where they wish to go, and I hope to propel myself forward as well. I like to think sticking to this whole college thing will be worth it someday. Both for my career and for me personally. It already has been.

What I want to say to all those who are going back to college, going to a four-year institution for the first time, or the high school seniors starting college next school year: this may be over said, but college is more than just for academics. Enjoy what you can learn from the others around you, enjoy what you can learn about yourself. Enjoy the fact that you will grow, no matter how old you are, you will. In some way, you will grow and become a, hopefully, better person. Even though student debt is on the rise in America, it is worth it. I am hesitant to say that only because I hate the idea of owing money, but it is worth it if you can afford it somehow. If you can afford it, do it. For your career and for yourself.

Memoirs of a College First Year #4

Right now I’m still coming down from a high spike of anxiety. My back and shoulders are less tense, but starting to get more to the sore part; my throat isn’t as dry and my voice is coming back; I am calming down. But I am still a bit frustrated. This could be something I write in my little journal and tuck it away, but it’s something that I’m thinking could be useful to others entering college/who haven’t’ had to deal with much stress during their college life.

I’m someone who doesn’t usually have to worry about workloads and multitasking, but this semester seems entirely different. I have a class with an extensive paper, another with some various writings spread throughout, a science project which shouldn’t be too too bad, and possibly writing a story in Spanish. Now, my issue is with the alter. I just need to pass this one language course, and then I am free, which is my sole reason for taking it. Otherwise, I have no interest in the language nor am I good at the writing and speaking portions. Another class that is offered has no paper, just work strewn throughout, and it also has a more lenient absence policy. Both teachers are apparently capable, but, unfortunately, I can’t wait to see how any tests are set up to make a final decisions. If I could see the tests, it would help a bit, but I also know that worrying about writing all those various things will hurt me. Apparently I have physical reactions to anxiety, something I did not know as anxiety, at least over work, is foreign to me.

The only reason I was upset, was due to my stubborn streak. My stubborn self was basically saying ‘no, you can’t quit. That’s giving up. Since when do you do that?’ while my logical half was pointing out that I should, of course, do what will allow me to pass and not be in pain. While the timing takes a bit from something that helps me relaxing, and something that allows me time with a friend, I like to think it’ll be better for me in the long run. My avoidance of painful course loads is really the only reason why I’m staying in undergraduate studies for four years; otherwise it would be three years and then I would move on. Doing a major and minor during three years is possible, but difficult considering the two that are my chosen fields of study. Psychology takes work as does business.

So, basically what I am getting at is to all you stubborn and/or overachievers: some times you just have to make compromises, even if it’s been grilled into you to not change a thing, to always hang in there and push through. Some times pushing through is more detrimental than helpful, while making a mild change is the most useful.

Though this isn’t me saying I would ever drop a course completely nor does it mean I’ll ever be the person to ask for help/money/etc., but it’s a start to being more flexible with some things considering how I usually am. Stubbornness can be useful, but, well, sometimes it be just as bad as some people like to claim.

Memoirs of a College First Year #3

I finished my first semester of a live-on-campus type of college, managing all As except for one B in the class that bored me and I didn’t want to be in anyway. Surprise, surprise, I didn’t get a C in Spanish. *insert cheers here* I’m also currently at home for the break before Jan-term (30 days to write a book, here I come), trying to figure out if my flan is the right consistency for flipping or if it needs to be in the fridge for a bit longer, wondering how my dog manages to have the perfect ‘love me now, I’m so sad’ face, and…in general just staying up later than I should since I want to do some shopping tomorrow.

I’m not sure what I’m meaning to have come across with this other than, I guess, that I survived. I’ve yet to be challenged, though I’m sure that’ll come sooner or later, but I managed to get through with good grades at what last I checked was counted as the top 50 something or other for Forbes. It was a good thing, that much I am sure of. Even with just one semester of college having passed, I know I’ve changed at least a bit. I’m not sure how, but people have this habit of saying that I’m different. They mean it in a good way, but they can’t quite put their finger on how I’m different.

I’d like to think, in general, I’m happier. I’m off someplace I’ve wanted to be since a long while. I have good, new friends and all the inside jokes that come with it. I more or less live on my own since my roommate is barely in the room, and I like that. I prefer being on my own. I’m not in a place that makes me feel a bit depressed for a variety of reasons. I don’t even think I’ve had any semi-depressed thoughts since a long while. That last one is a revelation that makes me feel even happier. I had been used to thoughts of ‘things won’t get better’ ‘life sucks’ and there may have been a time a handful of years ago where I contemplated some things with a sort of detachment that actually worries me now that I think back on it. I know why I was in that place then, but I’m glad to be far from it now.

Side note: Never seriously contemplated anything, just idle passing thoughts. Not that that is better, but it could’ve been worse. If you seriously contemplate anything ever, talk to someone, call the suicide hotline whose number I do not have on hand presently but will look up in the morning. Cliche sounding, but, seriously, talk to someone. Your life matters to someone.

While college has been known to break some people, especially if it’s the first time leaving home and all that, I’m one of those people who has found their niche, so to speak. I’e always been someone who has been able to leave home and be okay. Chorus trips to other states. A sleepover at a friend’s in another state. Dreams of getting over to England, and then Ireland, and now Germany. I guess, on the whole, I’m happier because I’ve been able to finally, finally, stretch my wings a little bit and not think ‘God, why can’t we move yet?’ or ‘I need a job. And a car. And to get far away as possible.’ or ‘I should just give up. Would be easier.’ and other not so happy thoughts.

So I’m a bird who’s wings are getting the exercise they so desperately need, and that should keep me content until I can get onto a plane and go elsewhere. Some day. And to all those other birds who are 20-something, 30-something, or, hell, 40 plus, and haven’t been able to leave to anywhere ever: your time will come. You’ll be free to move someday, I promise.

Memoirs of a College First Year #2

Something today inspired me, in a sense, to write this. I’ve realized that one of the major differences between a community college and a four-year one, if you live on campus, is the accessibility to people. Now, that is both good and bad, depending on how you are. As of the moment, I notice people already finding their groups and sets of friends, while I’m being how I usually am and flitting from group to group until I find a ‘set’ or until I find people who I really, truly count as friends. That may take me a year or two, granted, but still. I’m an introvert, I’m fine with alone time. Sure, sometimes I want to be with people, go out, socialize, but that’s rare.

My roommate on the other hand, she’s an extrovert. Like seriously an extrovert. If she had to spend time by herself, I’m pretty sure she would die. That’s not a bad thing, and I’m not here to bash extroverts or anyone who likes socializing, but something that people need to keep in mind as the access to people grows; know your limits. Do not think you can stay out somewhere on campus, be it in the lobby, someone else’s room, out on some bench, until six in the morning and be able to wake up for an eight AM class. Somehow my roommate did jsut that, though, today, I think her late nights (usually ending around 3) are catching up to her. Naps pretty much every day, and then today she missed a ten AM class. Why? Because of the late nights that may be part study-part socializing.

One of the very important things about college is sleep. So, yes, when in dorms it may be tempting to stay up really late, but don’t. Just no. Yes, I have stayed up until…one or twelve at night playing card games once or twice, but that’s because I know I can still wake up in the morning. Even if I got to bed at two, if my class is at eleven and I really push myself to get up (like with the promise of actual breakfast, not just a little strustel cake or bag of cookies), I can get up and get going. It helps if I set ten alarms, but that’s besides the point.

Basically, if you live in a dorm, socialize, but don’t overdo it. You have to make time to actually do your work and then sleep. Weekends, do whatever the hell you want; but weekdays? That’s just not going to work. If you’re someone who thrives on socializing, that’s not to say you can’t stay up talking to other people, just…if it reaches a certain time and you know you have some really early class, excuse yourself and go to bed. Professors want you in their class since, usually, they have a sign in sheet. And it’s not like elementary to high school where you get ten days absences; at best you get three before they fail you. Unless you have a good excuse of course and, no, ‘I overslept’ does not count unless your professor is the best ever.

Instead of realizing sleep is needed halfway into the year, realize it before you even go and plan accordingly. It’ll help you so much more and make life so much easier; your roommate might not always be there to wake you up.

Memoirs of a College First Year #1

    So, technically I’m not a freshman, thanks to the credits that transferred over, but I am a first year at Salem College; a first year to any college besides community college even. You may have noticed the ‘#1’ so, yes, there’ll be a few of these, or so I’m hoping. I’m not going to offer advice besides the little that i have, but as I go through this year, I’m hoping that this will help people either feel not so alone, or to have an idea on what they’re getting into, or just for pure interest. This isn’t going to so much go into my personal stuff, there’ll be another post soon about all this so far that’ll be more in depth; this is just to help cover some things that could help others or so.

    Let me start off this first one with something very simple; do NOT rely on your roommate before you even meet. I’ve read this so many times and have just thought it as simple logic that you shouldn’t, but, apparently, some think otherwise. Okay, yes, if you are lucky, you might get paired with someone who you’ll be best of friends with, but you might also hate them with a fiery passion. Or you could be like me, and like some same stuff and get along well enough that you are able to live together. You probably won’t be in your room that often, big school or not, anyhow, but still. if you go to a small school, like me, then you’re more likely to find groups easier, but still. Don’t expect to do everything with your roommate. Sure, hang out the first week or so while y’all both get settled, but, unless you two seriously click, don’t get offended if they wander off, don’t feel guilty if you decide to go to some other people. Don’t use your roommate as a crutch. Just don’t expect that. See how it works for you, if you love your roommate, awesome, if you need a new one, it happens. But don’t expect too much before meeting.

    You’ll find people. It might take some doing, but you will. Hell, I’ve only been here a few days and I’ve found some people who seem nice enough to maybe be friends with. Of course I’m sticking to the other awkward people mostly, but whatever. I know this one is short, but just wanted to get off a starting point, and how expecting the best friend vibe form your roommate is a not so good thing to do seemed like a good one. There are longer articles, probably, about this someplace, too, but it all boils down to the same thing.