The Fear of Missing Out

Although I’ve been a college student for a month and a half already, I’m still having trouble finding where I fit in. My older sister had always told me that finding friends in college would be hard, but I didn’t think that would be a problem at Oxford since it’s such a small school. Everyone always says Oxford builds community, but they don’t tell you that it can be incredibly isolating if you haven’t found your community yet.

It’s easy to feel like all your high school friends are passing you by. Every time I call one of my friends and ask them how they’ve been, they tell me about all the crazy new things they’ve tried and how much they love college. They’re doing things that they would never have done in high school, things I didn’t have the option to do and still don’t. They sound like they’ve grown so much, and I feel like the same person I was at the end of high school. It’s hard to tell them that I’m still struggling to find my place at Oxford.

I know I can’t compare myself to my friends who stayed in-state because I have to start over where I don’t know anyone, whereas their communities are mostly already formed, but that only makes it harder when I hear that my other out-of-state friends are having the time of their lives.

Every time, I have to tell myself that it hasn’t even been half a semester yet. I tell myself that everyone feels the way I do even if they don’t show it. All of us are still trying to figure out what we want to do here and where we want to fit in. Sophomores tell me that second semester is so different from first semester and that we won’t even hang out with half the people we did in the first semester. I want to believe them, but it’s hard to see anything past the present.

I remember sometime during orientation after the PALs had just finished all their skits, they started telling us: “If you don’t feel like this place clicks with you yet, don’t worry. Everyone feels weird at first. It might take a couple of days, a couple of weeks, maybe even a couple of months, but it will click eventually. You just have to wait.” The auditorium was silent. All the people who had been eagerly chatting with their new friends just minutes before were quiet, and I realized that everyone felt the same way as I did—that they were all a little scared because things didn’t immediately feel right.

College takes time to adjust to. Many people have more trouble than they let on. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to enjoy my first year of college. I’ve met some cool people in my hall, I’ve joined a bunch of clubs, and I’m taking some classes I never thought I’d be taking in my first year of college. Oxford may not feel like the perfect fit right now, but I know that with time, it will.