If you had asked me two weeks ago what I looked forward to most upon entering college life, I would have told you, “The chance to completely start over and meet new people.” But now? The most difficult part of college life is exactly that: the chance to completely start over and meet new people. Of all the days I spent daydreaming of going off on my own to a foreign place with foreign faces, I never considered just how hard it truly is to make friends. I’ve found myself wondering these past few days, is a new beginning really what I want? Or should I have listened to Daughtry’s catchy version of the cliché, be careful what you wish for?
The answer is still yes. A new beginning IS what I want, despite its hardships. Whether it be the commencement of a new school year, going off to college, or even day one of a job, a fresh start grants you the opportunity to abandon past aggressions/embarrassments and instead replace them with the freedom of exploration. It can be difficult to forgive (yourself or others), forget (move past mistakes or difficult times rather than dwelling on them), or look within yourself (who do you WANT to be?) without some sort of clear initiation point. That’s why I couldn’t contain my excitement for college—I finally felt ready to embrace confidence and the qualities I desire in myself, and a campus of people I’ve never met acts as the perfect playground for my self-discovery.
With that said, I so distracted myself with anticipation that I never contemplated the inevitable struggles that accompany starting over. More than my parents, more than the comfort of taking a shower without wearing shoes, I miss connection. I long for the memories, the inside jokes, and the deep conversations of a friend you’ve known for years. Yes, I’ve been making “friends”, but at what point do they become true companions? How long until I can do something completely inappropriate or confide in them my biggest fears without worrying they won’t accept me?
Before coming to college, I most looked forward to meeting new people. That idea still excites me, but I’m tired of feeling stuck in this limbo of having acquaintances but no real kinship. The last time I had to make friends occurred when I stood as just a measly freshman entering my high school for the first time. I know I succeeded in this endeavor; I have years of memories and photos to prove it. But I possess nothing that tells me at what point the people in my life became true companions; try as I might, I can’t recall how or when those peers grew into something greater (as cheesy as that sounds).
Last night, sitting alone in my dorm room, surrounded by candy and fear of the Freshman-15, these thoughts of longing and loneliness started to creep through my mind, like vines enveloping the sides of an abandoned castle. So I let myself eat the candy. And I let myself feel bad for the night. But then? I promised that tomorrow (now today) would be different.
The thing about new beginnings is that everyone has experienced them in one way or another. Especially in college, the first month/semester/year can often prove very difficult to students. I just had to remind myself that even though I’m feeling lonely or friendless, a lot of other people feel that way too. Safety in numbers, right?! I also have to focus on practicing patience. I know it’s the worst thing to hear and of no help, but eventually, those familiar faces around campus will become all-too-familiar faces in your own life. Eventually, you will forget what it ever felt like to be in this current limbo of loneliness.
But while you’re waiting for that time to come…Try doing something you used to love to do with all your friends back home. For example, my gal pals and I would always play Cards Against Humanity. So the other night, when the rain forced my fellow classmates and me into our residence buildings, my roommate and I invited some [mostly] random people to come play CAH with us. That was the best night of college life I’ve had yet, and my friends back home suddenly didn’t seem so far away.
Make sure to call your closest pals from pre-college life and ask how they’re doing—chances are, they may be feeling the same way as you. I know when I’ve called my friends in the past two weeks I’ve always felt so much better afterwards; not to mention, it’s the perfect study break! You could also start a group chat to share funny moments throughout your day or write letters the old fashion way (it’s always so exciting to receive something in the mail).
My awesome roommate and I are even planning to have a movie night where we make popcorn and watch girly college films in our dorm. Little get-togethers like that can make your “new beginning” seem a lot more like home—a lot cozier—even if your best of friends are miles away. I also brought a stuffed animal with me to college (I’m so glad I did—there’s no shame in it!) and I like to cuddle it at night. I imagine this might be particularly useful for those of you who have pets back at home.
So when you’re feeling down for any reason, loneliness or just a bad day in general, give yourself the night to wallow and then start fresh the next day. Wake up, read a list of reasons you love yourself, and of course, put on a killer outfit to boost your confidence. Most importantly, try to remember how you felt at the beginning of your “new beginning”. Perhaps you felt excitement, preparedness, ready for adventure. I recall feeling so open to trying things and eager to meet people vastly different from me. When starting over becomes a burden, you have to remind yourself it was a blessing first. Re-channeling those initial feelings of excitement will get you through the toughest parts of that transition period and force you to recall why you were so looking forward to starting over in the first place.
Thankfully, I have had a much better day today than last night! I hope this reflection and these tips can help you through the difficult transitions in your own life. As always, if you want someone to talk to or have any insight of your own, leave a comment or shoot me an email at the Contact tab at the top of this website. Have a fabulous weekend, y’all!
Miles of smiles,
Green Cheetah Print Blouse: Cabi, $89 // Black Cargo Shorts: A.N.A. via JCPenney, $16 // Black Wavy Sandals: Macy’s, $28 // Black Cateye Sunglasses: Charming Charlie, $7 // Black Elephant Purse: Francesca’s, $20