Freshman Flashbacks – Musings of an Almost College Grad

I will graduate from college in 4 days. Among the many things on my mind right now (essays, finals, finding a job) is freshman year. Who I was, how I felt, what I expected.

I remember standing in the hall of my dorm after moving in and watching my parents walk down the hall and leave. They did not cry, like in the movies. Instead, they hugged me goodbye and walked away. I watched them disappear around the corner and the tears that had been collecting on the rims of my eyes spilled over. I stared at the wall where they had been for just a second, then I walked back into my room, closed the door, and cried softly for a few minutes. Just like that, I was alone and my life was different.

I was a different person then than I am now. I was so shy, even though I’d already made so much progress the year before. I was closed off, without even realizing it. I was scared, but brave.

I’m still shy, but it’s nowhere near the same as it was then. Social situations still make me nervous, but it’s not paralyzing anymore. I can still be very awkward and it can still be embarrassing, but I’m more aware of it now and willing to push past it. I never thought I could be as outgoing and friendly as I am now. I still surprise myself sometimes. There is still progress to be made, but past me would be proud.

Back then I wanted to make friends more than anything. I’ve never had more friends than I have now. I still struggle to form close friendships, but it’s something I’m working on. I have a best friend and a tight group of friends that I have grown to love – and that makes me so happy. (Still never had a boyfriend, maybe next year)

I’m still scared of all sorts of things (talking to professors, asking for favors, going to large social events). But last year I hopped on a plane – for the first time ever – and flew to England where I studied abroad for 5 months and faced so many fears. I always thought that being scared and being brave were the opposite, but now I know that you can’t have one without the other. It wouldn’t be an act of bravery if there wasn’t something to fear. And it took me a long time to see that I had been brave all along: In high school I went to homecoming freshman year by myself with no plans of meeting up with friends; I applied for college even though my parents told me we couldn’t afford it (I also applied for the FAFSA); I moved to a city where I knew no one and I started over. It was one of the bravest, and one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I’m proud of who I am now, but I’m also proud of who I was then. I was shy and awkward and scared, but I was also strong and smart and brave. And, most important of all, I was willing to change. And I still am.

A Case of the Pre-Graduation Blues

Do you ever have those days where you keep doing things you shouldn’t be doing and you just keep thinking “what am I doing with my life”, but you just keep doing the same thing over and over even though it’s not making you feel good anymore? Well, I’m having one of those days.

So, instead of refreshing my Tumblr dashboard and checking my emails again, I’m going to turn on some music and blog about it. I’m not sure if that’s really any better, but I can already tell that my fingers have missed typing and it feels better than mindless scrolling.

I graduate in ten days, which I’m so excited about, but I’m just not happy. And I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just end of the semester stress, or maybe it’s because I don’t want to leave. Maybe I’m getting mad at all of my friends and frustrated with everything because that will make it easier to leave. I don’t want to do that.

I want to be brave and face everything head-first, even if that means more pain later. The future is fast-approaching, and I couldn’t run from it even if I wanted to – and maybe that is what I want. I really don’t know what I’m doing with my life, but reverting back to an angsty teenager is not an option.

I need to get my happy back, and I think that might just entail closing my internet browser and getting to work on my final essays. My typical reaction to the blues is a pint of ice cream and a night (or several nights) of complete immersion into the never-ending vortex that is YouTube, Tumblr, and Facebook. But I’ve tried that, and it’s not helping anymore.

I have ten days left as a college student, so I might as well enjoy my last ten days of essay writing. The internet will be there when it’s all over, and I’m sure that not long after these ten days pass I will be blogging about the blues again. But being sad because something so special and amazing has come to an end is so much better than being sad while you should be enjoying those last days of such a special and amazing experience.