I joined Her Campus at UMKC when I was a freshman. Fast forward three years, I’m nearing graduation and wondering where all the time went (clichés are allowed in sappy articles). Her Campus has been a constant in my college career. I have loved writing for the website, and I will miss sharing my thoughts and feelings with strangers on the internet regularly. I had a tough first year at UMKC. Nothing too unfortunate happened, but the usual homesickness and transition from living comfortably to living in a tiny square of a shared dorm room were as strange for me as it was for most. I missed my family, my friends. I missed when everything was familiar. So, I wrote my very first article for Her Campus, titled, “WHY IT’S OKAY IF YOU’RE NOT ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH COLLEGE YET.” A bit dramatic, yes. I thought it could be a fun trip for my senior self to react, three years later. Below are some direct quotes from my very first Her Campus article, along with my present-day reactions.
“I could not help but wonder why I did not feel overwhelmingly enthusiastic about my college journey just like every friend whose smiley photos flooded my feed. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.”
I remember this feeling all too well. On Instagram, every one of my hometown friends was killing it at their new colleges. I remember wondering if I had made a mistake coming to UMKC. All I’d done was miss everything about being home. What I would go back and tell Younger Me is that mostly every college freshman experiences these feelings. You weren’t doing anything wrong. You could’ve utilized contractions in your writing, though.
“My first few weeks at college left me in a very confusing state of mind. College was not awful, but it was not breathtakingly awesome as well.”
Younger Me, life would be pretty hectic if everything was either “awful” or “breathtakingly awesome.” If nothing was ever somewhere in between these two extremes, then we would never learn to appreciate the stuff that is breathtaking. On the flip side, we would never learn how to grow from the “awful” experiences. It’s okay for life to seem mediocre some days. That just leaves room for more awesome stuff later on (and trust me, there are some awesome days coming). Once you realize this, the pressure to go above and beyond every day fades.
“The pressure to express our happiness and hide the rest of our (extremely regular and rational) feelings about the difficult change that is college can be emotionally tolling.”
“Can be”?! It is always emotionally tolling to hide our feelings, especially when we label them as “Good Feelings” or “Bad Feelings.” I am about to enter a new stage of my life. For the first time in 17 years, I won’t be in school. This likely means that my life is going to feel a bit like a rocky boat. I may not know how to feel or what to do with my time or hands. I may change my mind about what career I want to take. I may not know how to navigate the road in front of me. And for that reason, I’m taking the grace that I gave Younger Me to be unsure about college, and I’m handing it over to Older Me to hold. In preparation for any anxieties that surface once I graduate, I give myself grace and space to feel all of the feelings that arise. I deserve that much!
Younger Me had no idea the laughs and memories that were yet to come. Whether you’re reading this as a new student or a soon-to-be-grad, know that it is normal to feel anxious and uncertain about the future. Who knows, in three years you may look back and poke fun at yourself for worrying.