That’s what college should feel like, right? A whole new world.
In the media, we see college presented in a way that makes us think we’ll make instant best friends, go to parties every weekend, rarely go to class, and somehow have time to do every possible cool thing ever.
I had high expectations for college. I imagined myself making tons of new friends, breaking out of my shell, going out a lot, and getting involved on campus in numerous ways.
The reality is that building relationships takes time.
The reality is that for the first week or so, I buried myself within that shell that I wanted to destroy, hiding myself away from everyone.
The reality is that I don’t have time to get involved in everything that I want to because I have class and other obligations.
But college is by no means worse than I expected. Somehow, it’s actually better. Stepping onto this campus did not instantly transform me. I’ve had some great laughs. I’ve destroyed my feet during long walks in ballet flats and sandals. I’ve learned new things in my classes and thought about my life in different ways. I’ve allowed myself to simply live without worrying so much about my future. I’ve met some amazing friends. I’ve embarrassed myself.
And in the midst of all of this, everything feels so familiar. Within what felt like seconds, I caught onto the rhythms of this new place. I fell into beat as though I had been here along. I made this place my home. And that’s because I’m still me.
I’m still awkward. I’m still an introvert at heart and happy that way. I’m still trying to branch out and talk to more people. I still have big dreams that I’m trying to put to acting in some shape or form.
College has already opened my mind so much, but nestled within those new lessons is the same girl I’ve always known. Here, she feels free. Here, she feels refreshed. Here, she’s still learning. Here, she can be anything. But I haven’t fully taken advantage of that yet. The movies could never emphasize that enough: You don’t automatically become a new person when you start college. If you want to abandon a piece of your past and improve yourself, you have to put some effort in. You have to start by seeing yourself as more than what people thought you were. You have to start being the person you want to be, rather than watching movies and imagining yourself as the person you want to be. Stop limiting yourself to what people saw within you before. Start showing the world what you see within yourself. Or better yet, what you feel within yourself.
I have to keep reminding myself that I can talk to people. That I can start conversations and that it’s not weird. No one here knows me as the “shy girl,” yet I’m letting myself fall into that all over again by restricting myself to the expectations of my past.
This is a whole new world. So why would I confine myself within the boundaries I used to live in when I could explore?