First Semester Thoughts

I have been officially been a college student for more than a semester now, and I can unequivocally say that I am unhappy.

Coming to Oxford was a bargain. It was not my first choice, but then again, none of the colleges I was accepted into were my first choices. They were hardly even my third, or fourth, or fifth.

It would have been easy to give up and go to my state school, a place where I already know everyone and everything and have confidence that I would have been happy.

Yet instead, I chose to come to Oxford.

For the first few weeks, I did not regret my decision. I had no friends but I was enthusiastic that I would find some; I had met a couple of cool people in my hall and hung out with some people over the weekend; I made plans to invite classmates over to study with me; I was excited for the prospect of being here for the next two years.

Slowly, as the months flew by, I realized more and more that I was not making new friends. People who I had met in the first few weeks had already settled down, and people who they met after me were able to become close to them in ways I never had. While I knew a couple of people in my hall, for the most part, everyone was just a face I had thought I would eventually get to know, but never did.

Texting people to hang out stopped. I continued to spend most of my time by myself, and whenever someone approached me first to talk, I’d get excited and anxious all at once while I tried to convey how much I wanted to become friends without coming off as an over-enthusiastic loser. Eventually, the excitement faded and all that was left was anxiety.

My stomach would churn every time someone spoke to me, someone I wanted to become friends with but did not know how to. I wanted to get to know these people, to hang out with them in their dorms, to join in on their stories and become a part of them, but I didn’t know how to make myself likeable, how to make myself interesting, how to make myself funny.

Going home for winter break was a relief, but I was crushed that nobody at school would even care that I would be gone. I thought I could find solace in all my high school friends, but it seemed that most of them were thrilled about their colleges.

They had found close friends, party friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, people who texted them over break, and I had none of that. I was simply reminded of all that I did not have.

I hate myself for overthinking. Even now, as I write this, I know I am stuck in my own head with toxic thoughts that are preventing me from being interesting. I know that this is something I could solve if I tried hard enough, if I had kept trying, but I don’t know how. I don’t know what else I could have done.

I thought college would bring out the best in me, but maybe that is too idealistic. I have never felt as uncool as I do in college; I have never wanted to fit in as much as I do now. I find myself wanting to throw away my morals and just do what everyone else is doing, but I can’t even do that because of lack of invite.

Recently, I reread the first article I ever wrote on Her Campus: “The Fear of Missing Out.” In it, I mention feeling lonely and worried, but positive that things would change and end up happy. I look back with shame at my past self, the one who was so happy and optimistic, and I feel like I failed.