Coming into College as a Late Bloomer

When I was in high school, I would watch coming of age movies and feel utterly left behind. I had never kissed someone, or been out to parties where I made big mistakes, or tried something behind my parents back with my crazy, lovable best friends. Instead of going out to party and drink on the weekends, I had sleepovers, and we would watch movies, eat snacks, and play video games all night. Instead of sneaking out of my room at midnight to meet a boy, I stayed up late playing guitar and writing songs on my bedroom floor. Instead of ditching class to go on an adventure to the city, I was taking notes, doing homework, and then going to extracurriculars after school. If my description of a fantasy high school experience sounds ridiculous to you, it’s because I don’t know any better. I saw movies that depicted one thing, and then I had my real life that was something else entirely. I did have strict parents, but I wasn’t interested in breaking any rules or experimenting anyways. I liked safety. I spent prom night eating very normal brownies at a friend’s house while we watched a movie. When I finally arrived at college, I felt inexperienced. And to be honest, I definitely was.

I know high school wasn’t actually like the movies for my peers, but most of them had done quite a few things that I hadn’t by the time they got to college. If you’ve never drank, smoked, kissed someone or even had sex, gone out, ditched a class, or just not done your homework, then you and I are very similar people. We’re the goody-two-shoes, the role models, the strict parents’ children--and that’s okay. I wouldn’t have wanted my high school experience to be any other way. But when I got to college, quite a few of those “never-have-I-evers” changed into “I’ve done many times”--and that’s okay too! If you’re wondering whether college is going to be the place where you come out of your shell and try all these new things, then I would tell you that it might be. College is a place where you have more control and independence than ever. Here, you are an adult (mostly) and expected to take care of yourself like one. There’s still loads of support at Lafayette for first-years, so don’t worry about being left totally on your own. You won’t be. But you will have many new opportunities presented to you, and it’s your choice what you want to partake in.

Even though college is exciting, there’s no pressure to rush into anything you’re not sure about. Especially if it’s your first time doing something, you can always say “no” now, and “yes” later. My first year, I was playing catch-up to my newfound friends’ past experience levels, and I definitely embarrassed myself a few times along the way, but most importantly I was making choices that I felt comfortable with. It’s okay to be a little messy sometimes because your friends will be there to pick you up if you fall. Soon enough, you’ll have found your stride and you won’t be tripping so much. If your friends are pressuring you to do anything rather than supporting your right to choose, then there are much better friends out there for you that I would suggest you find. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in those first couple weeks--everybody needs a friend then. Those people will help you feel less overwhelmed the first time you party, or provide much-needed and hilarious advice when you make out with somebody for the first time. Nothing’s so scary with the right people by your side. It’s okay to be a late bloomer, and it’s okay to choose to branch out and it’s okay to choose not to. What matters is the support from the people in your life as you make those decisions. 

If you see me on campus, know that at least one person was in the same boat as you that first year! And trust me, a lot more people are in it than you might think. I can’t wait to see you at Lafayette! Until then, have fun, but not too much fun, you hear?