Social Struggles: College Edition

Location: 
Elizabethtown College
1 Alpha Dr Elizabethtown, PA 17022
United States
41° 4' 56.1792" N, 73° 36' 56.6604" W
US

 

 

As with any new transition, beginning college is a journey that is laced with many unknowns. A lot of people may find this exciting. Those people are what I would call healthy. For me, however, most of these unknowns just intimidated me to no end and sent chills up my spine.

 

Now, my reservations were grounded pretty solidly in logic. I was lacking in what almost everyone else thrived in: social skills!! To explain myself better, let’s have a blast from the past. It was about the middle of 6th grade that I allowed my mom to push me into what I am convinced now to have been the worst, most debilitating decision of my life. She enrolled me in a cyber-school program. The worst negative from this experience is the debilitating way that I was deprived of developing proper social skills. I also want to briefly mention that this was in combination with growing up alone with a wheelchair-bound mother who was extremely restricted in her ability to go out and about outside of the home. More on that much later though. 

 

Sure, I wasn’t a total recluse throughout my middle-school and high-school career. I made plenty of internet friends who were in my classes and I had a plethora of them on social media. I had a healthy texting repertoire, various relationships, and plenty of facetime and skype sessions with my pals. I had people in my life and I did hang out with people, but what I missed out on was the typical in-person interactions day in and day out. This is what I trust stunted my social development the most severely. It might all be in my head, but I truly believe that I simply don’t know how to talk to people, I’m too boring, and I don’t know enough about anything to be even remotely interesting. 

 

Fast forward to my freshman year in college. I entered this new part of my life as a commuter student. Another big life mistake. I occupied this position because I needed to be able to help my mother at home and at the time, she didn’t have enough independency to go 5 days a week without me at the house. Being a commuter, my social life at school was definitely stifled. The main way that it seemed people made friends was via hanging out with the people in their dorm buildings and by asking their peers to eat together. As a commuter student, I didn’t really have those options and consequently didn’t reap the benefits of widening my social circle. By the end of my first year, I spiraled into a messy pit of depression and anxiety, probably half related to this absence of a normal social life.

 

Back to the current time, I’m now in my sophomore year and in completely new circumstances. I now live on campus. In my head, I feel really pathetic about the entire thing, but going into this new transition I was really hopeful that this would be exactly the change that I needed and that I would finally be able to foster new relationships and find my perfect circle of funny and supportive friends. The reality is that most people already having their formed social groups with impenetrable walls with 0 cracks that I can slip my way through. 

 

Unfortunately, this is a story without a happy ending yet, but I don’t really have a choice to give up, so forward I trudge on the struggle bus! If there is anyone else out there in this type of situation, I understand how challenging it is, but hopefully, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. Good luck to everyone else who doesn’t know how to be a college student.