Anna Schultz-Girl Sitting On Bed Facing Wall

“Hi, nice to meet me.”

The past year has been a year full of more changes than I have ever had. I had many of my high school “lasts," I graduated, I moved away from the town and people I had called “home” for a majority of my life. During this time, I really thought I knew myself and what I wanted from my college experience. I had the same goals most new students have: make good grades, study hard and have fun. What was most important to me though, was making best friends. 

We come into college with high expectations. We see college portrayed in the media as a time of parties, girls nights and the like. For me, and most other freshman, this is exactly how I thought my college life was going to go. It was a hard reality when I realized this just wasn't the case. 

Instead of my days being filled with hang outs and lunches with the girls, I slowly realized that it was mainly just me. I was surrounded by thousands of girls, all with different interests and personalities, but yet, when I looked around, I couldn’t seem to find anyone but myself. Everywhere I turned I felt embarrassed of this. During meetings with RA’s and TA’s, I would be asked “have you found your people yet?” It was hard to be truthful. Of course, I have my roommate, who really is my best friend, but I wanted more. Not only did I want more, but I felt the pressure from these leaders to also find more. I felt isolated and confused. I thought this is where I was supposed to meet the girls who would someday be my bridesmaids. 

This feeling of loneliness took over very strongly around mid-terms of the first semester. I was still happy, enjoying my classes and having good times with my roommate, but in the back of my mind I couldn’t stop wishing for that big group of girls. As I’ve said…“lifelong best friends” that just weren’t coming. 

During this loneliness I began to do things that I never did before in high school. I began to go shopping alone, go study alone, eat alone. These small, seemingly insignificant things, led to a much bigger picture than I knew at the time. Doing things alone gave me time to reflect on myself. I thought of new goals and plans for myself. I worked hard on trying to think positively. I realized new things I wanted to try, new places I wanted to go. I began to lean into myself as a source of company, and that is when my perspective completely changed. 

Once this process began, I became much happier than I thought I was. I stopped comparing my journey to others and I realized that everyone, in time, finds “their” people. I am no longer worried about the timeline. All I can do is put my best foot forward and focus on creating happiness within and around me, and the rest will follow in time. 

All the feelings I felt during that first semester led up to the most important thing I believe I have learned, and something that I will hold on to for the rest of life. There is happiness in being alone. It can be self care if you allow it to be. Being alone, I have slowed down to stop and see the world around me, to observe things about others and myself that I just didn’t realize while always being surrounded by people. Through the loneliness and the building up of myself afterward, I noticed that I met someone far more important than any of these girls here would ever be to me. I met myself. I am my own lifelong friend.