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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

“She lived a good deal by herself, to herself, working, passing on from day to day, and always thinking, trying to lay hold on life, to grasp it in her own understanding”   – D.H. Lawrence.

You know, every time we start something new in our lives, we’re always hoping that this new start will be an actual new start. We think we’ll be different from before and that we’ll go about things in a different way, but sooner or later you’ll just be in your empty dorm, lying down on your messy bed and thinking about what could have been. Thinking about where you went wrong in all your conscious years of living. You’ll think, “what turn or move should I have made to make my future self just a tad better?” Or you’ll think, “what have I done in the life that warrants me to be in the position I am in now?” Then all the hopes and thoughts that you had about your new start come crashing down piece by piece, second by second, day by day. And you can’t even begin to express this phenomenon because you decided to be by yourself and travel the world by yourself, and not have the guts to open up to anybody because you’re scared. This is how it feels to be my own roommate, and this is how it feels to have so many irrelevant regrets in your little life that you haven’t even begun yet.

As soon as I moved into my new dorm, I think I felt a sense of excitement, but also nervousness and stress. I wasn’t only stressing over the fact that I was a college student and would be given so much work in the next few days (like a regular college student would), but I was stressing about the social part of college. If we go way back into my past, I wouldn’t exactly be defined as the most sociable person–not at all, actually. From elementary school to middle school to high school, I was the “shy” quiet kid that didn’t have much of a presence. I didn’t always have a lot of friends, and I wasn’t as talkative in class discussions as other students were. I was just another student that a lot of people knew nothing about. 

At first, I thought I was shy, but now I’m starting to realize that I don’t think I’m shy, I just have some degree of social anxiety. Others used to say that I was shy because, as I said, I wasn’t as present socially in conversations in school, but looking at myself and who I am now, I don’t agree with that notion at all. I don’t mean to swivel from the main point of this article, but I just want to clarify to my audience and myself that I’ve done so many things that I don’t think a shy person would do. Not to belittle shy people, but I’ve done talent shows, poetry slams, dance performances, speeches, auditions, and many more things that I don’t think would coin me as “shy.” Yes, I may be a little socially anxious, but I don’t agree when I get pegged as someone who is shy because I’ve grown and developed myself the best way I can to get away from that notion, and would like to be perceived as someone who did just that.

Now, let’s get backed to the story before I start going off about random people in middle school that made me so irritated (I’m talking about you, Victoria). Before we went off to our classes and got slammed with work (who gives so much work on the first week of classes?!), we had to participate in a week of getting accustomed to the campus and meeting new first-year students. For others, this may have been a walk in the park, but for me, it was more of a nerve-racking lengthy task that lasted a week. As I said, I wouldn’t be defined as the most social person, especially when I’m around new people in a new environment. So it was a strenuous week, and there were multiple other factors that contributed to this, such as being away from my home and family for the first time, stress of switching majors, stress of not knowing what the heck I wanted to do after college, and many more factors. The main factor though was, you guessed it, that I was my own roommate.

I think I’m the only one on my floor that is in a single dorm. That means everyone has a roommate, or a built-in-friend to rely on during this huge time of transition. I, on the other hand, had my boring ass self. I bet you could imagine the conversations I have with myself while being in my quiet, cluttered room (they actually get pretty interesting). Even on that first day, it just felt that everyone was so close and already found their place, while I was there pondering what the heck to say to someone to not come off as boring. Then, as the days went by and our week of “fun” came to a close, I was still alone observing my floor-mates in friendly relationships with each other. I once again became that girl that D.H. Lawrence was talking about. I began to spend a great deal by myself working and passing time from day to day. I’m still trying to understand and figure out my life and how I can change it to the life I once imagined it would be.

I know a lot of you reading might be saying, “Why didn’t you just talk to your other floor-mates and connect with others in your building?” And to answer that statement, I say there was a mix of overthinking and just being scared. I’ll admit: I’m scared of public interactions, and for some reason, I still haven’t grown out of the “care what people think” mindset yet.  Every time I walk out of my dorm, it feels like I’m walking out into a judgment battlefield zone where I care so much about others that I forget how important individuality is. Being on my own has never felt this difficult. This is not to make excuses, but I truly sometimes wish I never ever EVER emailed the residence hall people to have a single room. But alas, the story doesn’t end here…


Maya McKelvey is currently a college student at The College of New Jersey where she studies Communication Studies and Professional Writing. Maya spends her time writing poems, short stories, scripts, and song lyrics. Maya also is well versed in dance which she has been doing for over 7 years. Maya is an open-minded person who believes in taking risks and chances. Maya is currently the Academic, Career, and Campus editor for The College of New Jersey's Her Campus chapter. Follow her if you'd like on snapchat and Instagram @y8awesome.