A couple weeks ago marked the one-year anniversary that I got accepted into the college that I attend, the University of Florida, and even after this long, it feels like I haven’t processed the changes I have endured.
I’m not coming home to my mother every day to tell her about that one really exciting thing that happened at school and I even if I wasn’t close to a lot of the people I went to high school with, I don’t have the familiarity of just being around all of those same people.
With that being said, I feel like I have gained a fraction of and will continue to gain the independence that I have always wanted.
I’ve learned a lot about my mental and emotional being, something that I could never even think of getting into when I was in high school.
Before I talk about my personal experiences this last year, I hope that readers understand that this is purely personal, and mostly, it feels like I’m writing this for me.
If there’s anything you relate to, that’s great, but it’s perfectly normal to not be able to. I’m not trying to shoo any readers away, but this is a chance for me to be honest with myself about how freshman year has been for me.
By the end of my senior year of high school, I felt exhausted in every way possible, just like every single one of my peers.
I’m sure the only reason I could keep going was because of the prospect that college was near, and I was excited for all the new experiences I’d have.
Needless to say, college has brought about a lot of lessons, although these are ones I would not have expected.
This includes the fact that the college experience will be far from perfect.
Don’t get me wrong, I never intended for it to be perfect, but I guess I’ve realized that I thought it would be a bit like the movies, with the protagonist suddenly finding a quirky new best friend and going to wild-ish parties.
But alas, it hasn’t been that way at all, and I am still in the process of making new friends and trying to find ways to be social.
I didn’t think it would take this long, and I have definitely felt a lot more isolated in the past year. I have just had to accept that when it comes to making friends and socializing, it’s going to take me a while to make progress in that department (maybe slower than my peers) and that’s okay.
A year ago, I would not have stopped talking about how badly I wanted to get out of high school and leave home.
I felt bored and worn out by the monotony that living at home brought and I guess I figured that there would be absolutely no days in college where I would miss home.
I am a little embarrassed to admit, but I kind of miss high school (something that I genuinely never thought I would say).
I miss that everybody knew everybody, at least to a certain extent, and I miss having that consistency, whether it be in routine or the groups of friends and peers that I surrounded myself with.
Something that I never realized would happen because of all this changing is the sense of control.
I definitely feel like I have lost control in some form and currently, it feels like I am scrambling to regain it.
The biggest things I have learned this past year is how important it is to take initiative.
I have always done this, but for some reason, “taking initiative” feels much bigger in college, as it applies to things like taking initiative to find what you want to do within your career and finding new ways to better yourself.
Of course, the biggest initiatives I feel like I have had to take is putting in the effort to learn more about myself and what I want (it feels like I haven’t gotten very far if I’m being honest), and although it’s been one of the hardest things I have done, I’m excited to keep going.
The biggest expectation and, more specifically, misconception I had about freshmen year was that I would do everything that I have ever wanted to do, all in one year.
At the least, I never realized how slow the self-growth would feel.
I’m feeling so many types of FOMO and this year has felt like a constant cycle of reassurance that I am trying my best and that what looks like progress for others will look different from what my progress looks like.
I know that in terms of physical manifestation, I haven’t really accomplished anything, but it feels like I have had a lot of progress within me, when it comes to my mental health and the things I see myself doing.
One thing hasn’t changed and that is that I will continue to push myself.
Some days I feel weaker in doing this than others, but it won’t stop me and I’m excited to see how far I go.