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I am an only child, and I decided to move halfway across the country for school. By myself. No family anywhere near me.
It was a weird experience. I was so happy being on my own, I have a job that I hate, I have to buy groceries, I have a failing love life—oh my, God! I'm a real adult!
But in all seriousness, I did learn some things.
I learned that a night in is way better than a night out. It's so much nicer to be able to curl up with a movie and a warm blanket than dress up and try to sneak into a club.
I realized that grades are not as important as they were in high school. And that shocked me. I keep up on my classes and make sure I get everything turned in on time, don't get me wrong, but it's not the end of the world anymore if I fail a test. There's not as much pressure. I just need to pass the class, and for some that's a grade letter acceptable of D.
I learned that the boy who you met in high school won't love you forever. And that's totally ok, because you'll meet someone else who will love you in a way you didn't know was possible.
I learned it's really hard to make friends. But it's ok. Because you will make some friends in your classes. And your roommates will have to put up with you and you'll have some good nights hanging out and laughing at nonsense, and they'll occasionally ask you to come into their room and distract you from their homework that they don't want to do.
And, of course, I learned that semester friendships won't always last into the nest semester. Or the one after that, and it may just be an awkward half wave or a forced smile you'll exchange when you're walking to your dorm, or class, or the cafeteria that you know will eventually give you food poisoning.
I learned some important things like how to budget, how to make a basic pasta dinner, how useful a rice cooker is, and how amazing Command Strips are until you have to take them down.
I learned life changes. When you don't know what you want to major in for an entire year and a half of your college career and you feel like you're throwing away thousands of dollars. I learned when you leave your tiny home town for months and go back for Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter break that everything and nothing will change. And you'll feel alienated in a place you once called home. And it'll make you feel an extreme wave of nostalgia for the days in the eighth grade. You'll cruise downtown looking for a feeling you've missed and can never re-create in your new life.
I learned I missed home more than I thought I would—but that I don't want to go home, but that I want to see my pets, but that I don't want to have to go all the way home, but that I miss my room, but that—
You see my point?
I learned it's hard to get over a break-up when the guy you were with is on campus with you and you awkwardly run into him every other day. And all you want to do is reach out and talk to him, but you can't, because you're not his girlfriend any more. You're not allowed to worry about him or ask how his mom is doing, because he broke up with you back in December and you haven't been able to forget how he said your name like it was a top 40 song every radio station had on repeat.
I don't know what I'll be learning next week, next month, next year, or in the next five, ten, fifteen, or so on years.
I just want to keep learning.