What They Don't Tell You About Freshman Year of College

Freshman year of college is supposed to be a new slate. New place, new school, new people, and new memories. For years I have sat in the classrooms of my dingy old high school and wished for the time when I would step onto campus of a college and not be a visitor, but to be a student. I was ready to start my life anew, and engulf myself in new memories and experiences with people I was yet to meet. Maybe it was my fault, because I do tend to romanticize most situations I put myself in. I’m an optimist at heart, I can’t help but think the best is yet to come. For the most part, it has. I’ve met tons of new people in the span of a few weeks, gone on midnight adventures, talked to different people and learned content that I'm actually interested in. I have all these things that I’ve always wanted, but for some reason I still feel hollow inside. So many people rage about all the fun you have in college, but they forget to mention what comes before the fun, and that’s loneliness. 

Now, I'm not saying that I have no friends. There are many people that I see in the hallways, or in the dining hall, or in class that I can smile and talk to. I have people who I can go out with, study with, and eat with, but that’s it. At the end of the night, I come back to my dorm, and look around and see the paling colors of my life. I don’t have the deep friendships that I used to have. I don’t have the bonds that used to tie me to my fellow classmates, and inside jokes that would send us all into fits of laughter. I don’t, and I’m struggling to find my place in this gargantuan campus. 

I’m not completely oblivious, I knew that living on my own in an alien playing field would put me out of my element. I knew I would have to adjust, and that it would be hard. Still, knowing it’s going to happen doesn’t make it any less better. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning and watch the sun rise with a heavy feeling in my heart, because truthfully, I don’t want the day to start. I don’t want to have to put on my mask and my smile and try as hard as I can to be liked, and accepted, in order to find my home away from home. I want to be able to put on some sweatpants and watch the new season of Big Mouth in my room without the terrifying fear of missing out on new friendships, and bonds, and moments that can’t be taken back. 

I’ve always been an introvert at heart, and so I’ve always felt left out because I would rather stay in than go out all night. I wanted that to change when I got here, and now I feel like this overwhelming fear of missing my window to make friends and be a part of something is what is holding me back from finding true connections. Yes, I have people I can laugh with, and talk with, but I don’t have people I can cry with, and be honest with, and I miss that. I know it takes time to build that kind of bond, but I’m tired of seeing faces instead of people.  

Yes, I’m lonely, and yes, I miss my home, but I know deep down inside, I’m not alone. That despite the illusion of happiness and joy of being out on our own, deep down inside, every freshman has a little twinge of loneliness. Maybe some more than others, but that’s okay. I’m learning to roll with it, because I realize that in order for me to get to the dreams I had in my 16 year old head, I have to learn to be uncomfortable first. I have to accept that yes, sometimes I might be eating alone in my room, and that yes, maybe I don’t have a solid friend group or people I can really share my inner thoughts with...yet. I’ll find it eventually, though. Everyone does. I just have to keep looking, and enjoy what I have now.