How I Overcame a Rough First Year

            Starting college can be really tough, especially if you don’t know anyone attending your school. Moving to a brand-new place is terrifying. As someone who doesn’t like change, I highly dreaded going to college. On move in day, my stomach was in knots. I was so nervous to go up to the table to check into my dorm that the floor governor came over to me. The smallest things worried me that day, such as not getting a welcome drawstring bag. I definitely spent the day freaking out.

            Reflecting back on my freshman year, I can say it wasn’t the best time of my life. I wasn’t housed in an all first-year dorm, so I did not get many opportunities to meet other freshmen. My roommate and I didn’t get along, from her ditching me at the Orientation events to making life in the room miserable. I ended up switching rooms the end of September into an even smaller space. The friends that I did make those first four weeks ended up cutting me out of their group after winter break, and I spent the rest of the year alone. Through both semesters, I went to maybe one party and spent nearly every free moment doing homework. I was that kid who called home every day and was miserable. 

            Despite my very rough initial experience, I tried my hardest to stay involved and continue to talk to people. I attended music rehearsals twice a week, took instrument lessons, joined HerCampus, and applied to be a Student Adviser. These clubs/organizations provided my social aspect of college. I met and experienced new people. Even though the friendships didn’t form until this year, I can easily say that if I had quit any of these groups, which I had wanted to do, I would not have any of the friends that I do today. My lack of friends was hard to deal with but I surrounded myself with homework and managed to do exceedingly well both semesters. When everyone else went out on Saturday night, I was in the library doing Spanish homework. I’m not going to lie – it sucked. But looking back, I was able to firmly establish myself as a student. 

            Besides my activity involvement, how I truly got through my freshmen year was being in a long-distance relationship. Before coming to college, I was one of those girls who was avidly against having a boyfriend from home. I wanted a new start and even chose a college where no one else from my high school would be attending. However, I made the decision a week before I moved in to begin a relationship and I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I enforced boundaries beforehand, telling him that I needed my own life at school and wanted to be involved here. Throughout the year, he came and visited me quite frequently, but not enough where I was falling behind or missing out on things. These visits gave me something to look forward to, something that truly made me happy in the midst of sadness. For anyone contemplating turning your relationship long distance, I strongly encourage you to at least consider it. 

            When I look back, I think about the days I faced endless loneliness and discomfort. However, if I step back and look at the bigger picture of where I am now with the friends I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned, and what is still to come, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Growing pains are a part of growing up, and they will pass if you keep your head up. If you’re unsure, in doubt, feeling like I did, I can’t promise you it won’t be easy, but it does get better. Join a club, or find something that makes you happy. Just keep hanging in there. :)