Saturday, June 15, 2013

on running away

So I kind of sort of hate seeing people for the first time post my first year of college. Not out of any sort of weirdo antisocial impulses I may have (though I am rather extraordinarily introverted), but because I hate HATE HATE HATE HATE (HATE!!!!!!!!) the "so how was college" question.

In January, I wrote about the difficulties I had transitioning into my independent, big girl college life. I completely intended to transfer out of the big scary state institution I attend and into where I was (and am) certain would be a better fit: a small, liberal arts school with an amazing English program. I spent a lot of the second half of my first semester and the first half of my second with my scowly girl face on.

Really, I was acting like a victim. It was passive. I was letting things happen to me - I let the girls who were my friends ignore me and I didn't bother asking them what was wrong, because I'd come to my own deductions. It was me. I was wrong. And they'd just been waiting until the best time to cut the ties of our friendship and leave me in the dust. I let the only friend I had left at school make other, better, cooler friends, and couldn't muster up the courage to ask HEY! INVITE ME TO HANG ON WEEKEND NIGHTS! and instead I sat in my dorm room and sulked.

When second semester rolled around, I didn't really plan on making any friends because of the whole transferring thing. I needed to do better than first semester, to not only maintain my position in my school's honors program and also for my humungous ego which had taken quite the stabbing when I received my first semester's GPA.

I don't know what really changed my mind. I was succeeding in classes, eating on a regular basis and I was doing what I liked. Who cares that I wasn't out partying like ALL OF MY FRIENDS? I was doing what was fun for me and that was absolutely okay because no one was around to invite me to things and therefore staying in for a night wasn't QUITE as weird. But I think what solidified this whole "staying at school" thing was writing a midterm for one of my honors classes.

The assignment had no guidelines, really. On the first day of the class, we were told to answer the big ol' meaning of life question, and for the midterm, we were told to reflect on the person who responded and identify any changes. I wrote a letter to myself because that's what the assignment sheet suggested, and I didn't really expect it but I got an A PLUS which is a BIG STINKING DEAL for me.

There is a lot of power in retrospection and introspection. And through that introspection and reflection I realized the mistakes I would be making in transferring.

When I was a little kid, I always threatened to run away. My brother would be mean to me or my mom wouldn't let me watch TV or my family teased me and I would clamber upstairs, grab some of my most important things (beanie babies, books, my unnamed bear) and I would tiptoe outside. I wouldn't leave the confines of the yard or even the front driveway.

I'd seen the opportunities outside of living with my family. The hard stretch of the road, the spirals of the pavement, the lack of shelter in the suburb that we live in. And then I chickened out, went inside, apologized, and everything was all right again.

I have an amazing group of friends from high school who I'll probably never be able to get rid of, even if I want to. (And I don't want to!!! Ever!!!) I have a supportive family. I want to travel. I want to publish a book and I want to go to the best grad school I can and I want to do all of that without the weight of student loans on my shoulders.

Running away isn't going to change anything. It won't change that I'm an introvert and that I prefer to spend time alone with a book or a movie or a television show than go to a party or a club. I'm always going to be shy and afraid of rejection and spending a ton of money at a new school won't change anything.

So I'm going to stay where I am. And I'm going to be positive about it and I'm going to radiate that positivity outwards, always.

But you can't say that when someone asks you how college was. They want to know about the parties, the boys, the classes, the roommate, not so much whatever personal epiphany you came to midway through your second semester. Regardless, I always say it was good (because it was, overall, after it all), that next year I'll get more involved, that I did well in school. And I'll leave my victories to myself, tuck them into the pockets of my mind, spin them around until it's time to claim some new ones.


  1. I am actually in love with this post and like always, it is beautifully written!

  2. Most college freshman can relate to these feelings and this post should be required reading pre-college. People will continue to ask you about college. Come up with some creative answers to match your wonderful post!

    I am a friend of your Mom's from High School! Laura Kilty

  3. the girl who made her kitesJune 16, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    when people ask about college you should just say your roomie was named antonio and had quite the selection of vests and that one time you jumped on her bed when she wasn't there (i'm trying to use the queen's english on your big girl bagel go ME)

    also you write like a rockstAr

  4. I have an amazing group of friends from high school who I'll probably never be able to get rid of, even if I want to. (And I don't want to!!! Ever!!!)

    ....Now I'm quoting you! ---mom