Fun fact: I used not to know how to spell college (look at me now mom!)
Right now, I’m a fully grown, eighteen-year-old, typical ramen eating freshman college student. I live in a dorm, share one shower with seven other girls, and have 8 a.m. classes every morning. It’s sometimes painfully overwhelming, but somehow I’m handling it just fine.
I haven’t cried yet, haven’t had too much of the viral homesick symptoms, and haven’t had any dark thoughts of dropping out and continuing my life in my parent’s basement. So, I’m basically killing it.
I’ve also met some of the best people here. I consider the girls I live with some of my closest friends. I have told them things it used to take me years to be comfortable enough talking about. I don’t have too many spouts of self-doubt (just barely enough to remember that I am indeed an anxious kiddo), but I’ve had some of my best days here, mentally, emotionally, socially. I am genuinely finding my place here.
My friends from home–weird to call them that–are all doing just as well as I am. We talk almost every day, if not multiple times a day. My fears of falling out of touch with them haven’t come true; honestly, it’s been the opposite. I feel close to them even when they’re hundreds of miles away (thanks, technology!)
But I do miss them. I miss everything.
I miss watching Gilmore Girls reruns every night with my mom, laughing like we haven’t seen this episode a million times. I miss my dad, and the time I showed him my favorite music on our drive to New York.
I miss the innocent way I worried about the future. College seeming like the top of a mountain that I would never, ever, be able to conquer.
I keep thinking about the old me. The one who swore she would never go too far from home. The person I was before I packed up my life and memories and moved to North Carolina. Seven-hundred miles away from everything I knew.
If someone told me two years ago where I’d be right now, I wouldn’t have believed them.
The girl who is terrified of life does not merely restart it somewhere totally unknown. She doesn’t walk alone with a smile, or start up conversations with strangers in line; she doesn’t dare to stand out, or dance at a party on her own.
You hear people say this often–but what I wouldn’t do to go back to the old me and tell her what I know now. Tell her that yes, life is terrifying sometimes. It’s awkward and confusing, and occasionally lonely–and it isn’t just you.
But people get kinder, and you start to care less and less about the superficial things. Hard work does eventually pay off when you want it to.
Getting out of bed will still sometimes be the hardest thing you ever have to do. Being shy is only a verb, and the world has more to offer than what your small town has ever given you.
Nowadays I worry about school and my future (shocking, I know), and what I could be doing to better myself a whole lot more than worrying about what people think of me. I unfortunately still obsess over my clothing choices more than I’d like to, but that comes with time I suppose.
And sure, I’m still expecting that little mental breakdown that is bound to hit me like a train soon enough. And I’m going to have many more terrifying moments of “what the hell am I doing?” for probably the rest of my life.
But being able to lean on good friends, and remembering that everyone feels lost every now and then (because we are all human), can surprisingly get you through most anything.
Life is changing and evolving so quickly, I don’t have a lot of time to reflect on who I once was. It’s all swarmed together into one big game of moving as fast as you can and never looking back. There’s no more time for me to be anxious or uncertain. It’s only forwards and onwards from here on out.