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Meeting new people in college is hard. Engaging in a conversation with a stranger requires courage and confidence. It’s not easy to get over the fear that we all feel when we talk to new people. Whenever I get afraid, it causes me to act like a fake version of myself. I portray myself the way that others would want to see me. It’s even harder to dive into deep personal conversations. We’ve all had millions of small talk interactions throughout our college experience. It’s inevitable. Usually, get greeted with a tight-lipped polite smile. Our names get exchanged with the other person. Our hometowns, our majors, and our years get traded with one another. Who knows they may go a bit further and ask what your favorite Netflix show is or what clubs you are involved with. Even then, the conversation will slow to a lull, and most likely you will never see them again.

I’ve always craved deep bonds with people around me. Friends that I can talk to about every little thought that goes through my brain. We’ve all dealt with a lot in our lives and we are all dealing with a lot at school. There are a lot of heavy topics that feel out of place in a conversation with my college friends. We all came to school to get that freedom and independence that we all craved growing up. Transitioning to college, it’s as if we’ve forced ourselves to believe that school is going to be like a dream. All unicorns and rainbows. So, we keep the conversation light. Happy. I’m guilty of it. We avoid the dark things that may be pressing in our minds. We hide them deep down for the sake of a good weekend or party.

My question is, how can we get real? How can we cut the bullshit? Superficial conversations leave us all feeling hollow. College causes loneliness no matter the fact. But especially when our conversations feel surface level or forced. From my freshman year, I’ve learned that you can’t have shallow friends. The only thing me and my friends had in common last year was that we all liked to go out on a Friday night. Conversations are so unsatisfactory when the only topics revolve around boys or parties. The empty words left everyone feeling worthless. I hid a part of myself, so they would like me. This dishonesty and disconnect with myself only attributed to my unhappiness. I shouldn’t have given a shit about what they thought.

So let’s flip the script. Let’s start owning who we are. We need to embrace what makes us unique. Even our quirks that you think no one should ever hear about. For example my raging Twilight addiction. Let’s let it out and let it show. Being authentic and being vulnerable with yourself will create friendships that are real. It can introduce us to our polar opposites, but we can learn and grow from them. The shift away from small talk can help us grasp who we are and expose ourselves to all different kinds of people. I’m tired of faking small talk. Starting today, I want to get real.

Hey, I'm Jessie and I'm a Creative Writing Major at the College of Charleston. I'm a sophomore from the amazing DC area and I love traveling, the outdoors, music, and coffee. I'm a book fiend, literally it's a problem, and in my free time you can find me with my nose in a romance or fantasy book. Or at Buxton Books in Downtown Charleston where I'm employed. Writing is my passion and I love writing dark angry poetry and fun short stories.
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