Out of all my friends, I was the one the least fazed by college. The most confident of my friends, I would roll my eyes as they griped about roommates, classes, friends, campus, what do you mean I can't wear my uniform, and even food. They'd turn to me, eyes wide and avowed, questioning, well, aren't you nervous, too?
Scoffing, I would respond with my best cool-girl voice, of course not. And I was honest, really. I could conquer all of it, the clothes, the food, the temptation, classes, friends, my stranger roommate, and so on. My mom likes to tell me I've got a good handle on myself, that I'm one of the few people my age who really know themselves through and through and most of the time, I agree.
It wasn't until the morning of August 16 dawned, pale, clear and lovely, that I realized maybe those adult shoes I'd been cramming my feet into all summer still were a little too big.
They don't really tell you about the homesickness before you leave. Allude to it, maybe. But perhaps because the feeling is indescribable and dependent on individual cases, they decide to just let you figure it out all on your own, and that really sucks.
Everyone has their moment, I think, and mine was after my mother walked me up to my room after my multiple breakdowns after our goodbye dinner at some horrible pizza buffet that was nothing like CiCi's. We left my dad in the car to grunt and pretend he wasn't sad and we hugged goodbye and I cried and she said she'd see me soon and that was that. My roommate was notoriously absent (a trait I'd soon find becoming a habit) and I was left, completely and utterly alone.
That was the worst feeling I think I've ever had. I've been sad, devastated, but I've always had people around me to lean on. But at school there was no one. And everyone tells you that you meet the very best friends of your entire life at college, but I had amazing high school friends. I had this great high school career behind me and as I progressed through those first two months of school I found myself desperately wanting to return.
And then I stopped being so sad. School picked up, I found people to hang out with, I told myself I was okay, and I felt okay. Sort of. I found myself returning to my room each night with a sour taste in my mouth, found the hangouts in one girl's room hard to stomach, found myself second-guessing myself. Second-guessing myself. I never, ever do that.
Well, okay, not never ever. I've done that, as it's human, I am human, etc. etc. Overall, I'm a confident person, but college-me has become a girl in desperate need of validation. And who doesn't love being validated, honestly? It feels really good. But needing it like I feel like I do now, it's unhealthy. And this isn't part of growing up, or well, it is, but it's the ugly part of growing up The Babysitter's Club doesn't prepare you for.
It sucks. It honestly, truly sucks, and I think that the only way to get out of that dark feeling is to take a hold of your own life and do things that will make you happy. For me, it's leaving the university I'm at and going where I think will be a better fit. And maybe I'm running away. Maybe in ten years, I'll knock myself on the head and wish I didn't make this choice. But how am I going to know that unless I try? Life is scary. But it's waiting, and it's about time I take back control.
I think a big part of being an adult is making yourself happy. You have to stop depending on other people, on different circumstances, to make you happy. I remember being annoyed in high school thinking things would be better in college, but I think that was just me being too lazy to fix how things were in my own environment. And I think I do that a lot. I go too far forward without realizing what I'm doing in the here and now.
I've realized that if you tell yourself you can be happy, invariably, you become happy. And maybe that's just how I function. Maybe I'm the only person like that. Or maybe I'm learning to make myself happy, and that feels pretty good. I think I'm on the way to turning things around, and the first step to that was admitting that I was unhappy.