Venting My College Experience So Far.
My freshman year in college was spent entirely online. I went into college in the fall of 2020, right when the pandemic was at its height and schools were all online. I am aware that this was a global pandemic, and because of this, everyone was dealing with the same experience of not being able to progress in life as we normally would. I would argue that being 18 and going into college during this time has more negative influences on growth socially and professionally because there is a social aspect of meeting new people that I fundamentally missed.
After my freshman year, I transferred to UW-Madison in Fall 2021. During this time, masks were still required inside and outside. I moved to an apartment building with another transfer student going into her sophomore year. I was unable to go into the dorms, so I did not get the opportunity to experience that. I am kind of glad it turned out that way because living in the dorms sounds like it would be emotionally draining with having to constantly share spaces with other college students. But, I could see how it’s also a good opportunity for meeting new friends.
Since I did not have any in-person college classes prior to my sophomore year, it was a transitional year. Classes were in person and it was my first time living on my own, so I needed to adjust to my new independent schedule. I was unable to join any clubs since I was too overwhelmed by the class work, getting to class and making money. Making friends was more difficult not knowing many people in the area and not joining any clubs to have events to go to. I did have my roommate, though, and we bonded and got close. She was the closest friend I made during the school year. I was so happy when the masks were no longer required, because I could smile at people again! I am a very expressive and awkward person and I rely on my smile and facial expressions to smooth over the awkwardness that comes out of my mouth. Being able to smile makes such a difference, and you don’t realize until it’s gone. Granted, I love my smile and love to use it.
Junior year is where I am now, and classes are all in person again. Life is beginning to turn back to normal, but my roommate of last year had to transfer schools because she did not get into the nursing program at UW-Madison. She transferred three years in a row. Hectic. Since I did not get very close with many people my sophomore year, I moved into a townhouse with four other women I barely know. They are all so sweet! Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten as close with them all as I did with my roommate last year. Turns out, living with a group of girls and having social anxiety makes it more difficult. I joined some clubs this year and have met some really cool new people through them. But, I continue to struggle with making sure I complete the requirements each semester for the clubs I am in. I am still not doing enough, and I am almost halfway done with my junior year.
The pandemic definitely played a role in the success of my college experience up to this point. Mental health is something that every college student struggles to maintain during the hectic years of forming your social group and beginning to go down career paths.
Freshman year I was not exposed to my professors or classmates, and was in an unhealthy relationship (which is an entirely different topic to dive into). Sophomore year, I began my single life, moved to Madison to go to college, and started my new experience. But, it was not what I would have expected. I made one close friend with the person I moved in with and getting involved in clubs was a challenge. I definitely could have done better, and at the end of the day I am the only one that can make my life the way I want it. I tried my best though, and all I can do is to continue to improve. By sharing my experience, I am hoping that I will reach someone who can relate to the college experience I’ve had so far. With my remaining years, I am going to focus on securing an internship in my field of study. I plan to move into a one bedroom apartment next year where I can focus on forming healthy routines for myself, inviting people over that I want to get closer to, and graduating feeling ready for what is next.