I had a pretty idyllic junior/senior year of high school. I was an awkward and quiet mouse freshmen and sophomore year, but in the summer going into junior year I grew my hair out and went on this program to England. Surrounded by people even nerdier than myself, I learned it was safe to show a bit of personality. For the first time in my life, I had a tight little group of friends (BOYS INCLUDED OMG!!!!!) and returned to America with a new sense of confidence and inflated ego.
That said, my life totally changed as an upperclassman. I had a lot of friends, I went out a lot, and I was still a weirdo but not afraid to show it. Basically I changed; I wanted to spend more time with friends than with my horse, I totally betrayed my 8th grade pledge made with myself to not drink underage (ah, innocence), and boys became this fun little puzzle for me to figure out and obsess over. God I was an asshole.
I thought I had the world at my little fingertips. I thought I REALLY had life all figured out. Then I got to college, and realized how terribly wrong I was.
Maybe it’s because I’m an only child. By the way, I attribute pretty much every single character flaw to the fact that my parents deprived me of siblings. Anywho, I got to school and realized: my little high school self, that was not who I was going to be for the rest of my life. Again, I changed. The absence of my parents’ smothering freaked me out. I clung to things that gave me comfort: running, my daily routine, making sure I got all my work done. I had an amazing group of friends but didn’t fully appreciate it; part of me was afraid to trust them, part of me missed my group at home. I was displaced, out of my zone, uncomfortable. I was involved in no extracurriculars. But, like every other first semester college freshman, I pretended to love college (newsflash: I really think that 90% of students that say this are exaggerating. Perhaps they enjoy school, perhaps they don’t hate it, but “love” is a bit of a stretch).
I lived my first semester in a haze. When I returned home over winter break, I realized I was not living the dream. My friends at home told me that I had changed. I definitely responded passive aggressively (sorry) and completely denied it, but deep down I knew they were right. It was hard for my to accept; I liked the person I was in high school, and didn’t want to let that go.
I returned second semester completely defeated. But, the realization that my life (and myself) had changed did wonders for me. I missed the responsibility of being on a team/part of a club. So, I applied to the student-run bank and by some miracle got in, and I started running with Running Club instead of alone. By jumping into these communities that were outside just my friend group, I started to feel like I really belonged at Georgetown.
I didn’t just start loving school overnight. It hit me over Spring Break though. My school friends and I went to Florida, and it just dawned on me: I was lucky. No, this was not my group from high school. And it would never be; though I love each dearly, the two are incomparable and by focusing on how they differ I don’t appreciate each for what it is. But still, I was on vacation with an amazing group of girls who I felt 100% comfortable acting my spastic self around. For the first time, I couldn’t wait to get back to school. I wanted to see my other friends at Georgetown, I couldn’t wait to go out and meet new people.
Basically, I chilled out second semester. My grades went down, I went out 3-4 nights a week as opposed to 1 or 2, and I was happy. I had grown used to the responsibility of being completely alone, and though it still scared me a wee bit, I didn’t let the fear of unraveling deter me completely from having fun.
I’m still incredibly responsible and anal, I’ll be the first to admit that. I am a dramatic control freak that absolutely DESPISES change, and I always have been. I didn’t realize this in high school. Now I do though, and gaining this knowledge has done wonders for me. By constantly reminding myself that I do not have the world at my fingertips, I can alleviate a lot of anxiety. I don’t suppress this aspect of my personality but rather accept it; I would love for it to go away, but chances are it won’t.
I made a lot of these judgments while running. That’s why I love it so much. It provides such clarity regarding things going on in my life – who I am, what I’m doing, why I do the things I do. I didn’t have a release like this in high school and I didn’t have this self-perception (plus my brain was less developed and all that shiz) but I am so grateful for it now. It really has become a meditation of sorts, and it’s created a more lucid vision of the world. I don’t live in a fog anymore. My actions all have a purpose (again, exaggeration, but we’re getting there) and I really try to pay attention to each passing moment.
Ah, I am rambling. Like that last part about running – did it have to be included? Heck no. I just felt obligated because it has been a major factor to my arrival at the following insight: I was not a whole person upon arriving at school. Yeah, I knew that I was kind of out there and odd. But I was also more immature than I thought, not entirely ready for the transition to college. And I was blind to this. I thought I was set to take on the world.
So here I am, one week out of my freshmen year, and I couldn’t be more proud to say that in the whole scheme of things, I don’t really know who the fuck I am. In this moment, yes, I do. But there are moments when I feel like an adult and moments when I feel like a child. A baby, rather. Things may come at me in life and tweak my personality in small ways, they may change the way I see the world. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Change still sucks and I hate it. I’m not going to sit here and claim that I embrace it now, because the thing is, I don’t. But, I’m at least slightly more comfortable with its existence. Rather than run from it, I have started to accept it. And that’s a start, right?