Upon finishing my first year of college, I’ve come to one conclusion: I am not who I was at the beginning of this year.
I’ve spent this whole year thinking about how I could be more like the “old me.” She was pretty, smart, incredibly involved, and had enough confidence to last seemingly forever. She had the best high school experience she could ask for, and the best friends anyone could want. Who wouldn’t want that back? However, as this year began to conclude, it hit me.
I am not her, and I won’t ever be her again.
College is hard. In high school, everything I put into something had a reward. Going to a small school meant I was forced to be with the same people all day. I was handed a community where I had no choice but to be involved. Thank God I loved where I was put.
College is the exact opposite. You can give so much to a class, but at the end of the day, the only thing you will get in return is a good grade. I didn’t understand why no teacher was there to pat me on the back until I realized the grade was all I needed. Community has to be sought out. You can’t expect it to be handed to you or you will be extremely disappointed. And finally, the hardest difference to accept was that you may not fit in where you want to, and that’s not your fault.
College is about finding your passion and pursuing it while gaining independence. There have been multiple groups I wanted to join, but it was not my passion, and I didn’t belong there. I had to look at myself and realize that nothing was wrong with me for not seamlessly fitting in. In fact, it’s great to be different. However, I had to make the choice between sticking it out and trying to make a community fit or moving on. Both decisions are hard.
I came out of this with a better self-awareness, but a disoriented idea of who I am. And that’s okay. Who I wanted to be going into this is not what I want anymore, and that’s college. For those of you in the same boat, do not give up. I’ve spent the last week questioning dropping out and joining the seminary (not even kidding), but I know that I’ll be much happier on the other side with a degree in hand.
Don’t let the rut of freshmen year get into your head. Instead, learn from it and use it to better understand who you want to be when it’s all over. I’m still learning how to deal with working so hard and not receiving near as much as I used to, but I know this is a lesson I need to learn to be successful in the future.