The College Experience
The College Experience
In High School, college seemed to be the scariest thing that I could think of. Whenever I thought about it my stomach would immediately begin to spin in circles. Although I was ready to go off and be by myself and meet new people I was scared to death at the same time. I didn’t know much about the “college experience” and what I did know (or thought I knew) scared me. I pictured hard classes that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with, people that wouldn’t like me, long hikes to get to my classes, and horrible food. I couldn’t imagine leaving the security of my own room, my own stuff where I want it, my friends that I’ve spent practically my whole life with, my family who put up with all my little quirks, and my car!! What was I going to do without my precious car? Some of my friends that had already been to college and had come back to visit seemed so much older and more mature. I felt twelve years old in comparison. I thought that I would never be able to fit in. Everyone else that I talked to didn’t however seem to have this problem. They all were thrilled at the thought of being on their own and not having to worry about their parents telling them what to do all the time. And sure, the thought was extremely exciting to me as well, but how would I survive without my family and friends and the things that had taken me eighteen years to get used to. I felt like going to college was pretty much taking everything that I knew and had grown accustomed to and throwing it up in the air. The worst part about it all was that I felt like I was the only one that actually thought about this. I felt so immature and childish for actually being scared to come to college. After I thought I wouldn’t be able to take the pressures anymore, I decided to approach my mom about the subject. I told her that I was a little scared and the thought of being on my own made me a little uneasy.
“Sweetie” she said, “I know it’s a little hard right now and things are a little confusing and overwhelming but it will get easier. You’ll get to school and wonder how you ever got along living here and going to high school. And when you get a little nervous and think it’s too much just remember to stick it out and you can always come home.” Talking to her definitely put me in a better mood about the way I was feeling but I still couldn’t shake the nervousness that I got when I thought about the classes that I was taking and the enormous amounts of homework that I was going to have to endure.
As time went by I began to not think so much about going to school and I just wanted to savor the time that I had left with my familiar friends. The summer before I came to school was probably the most fun we’d ever had. We reminisced about our lives growing up and all the fun that we had over the years. We all knew that come September things would never be the same again and we had to make the most of it while we still could. As the end of August rolled around we knew that it was time to say goodbye and be on our way to our own independence. I packed up the memories of the last eighteen years of my life into about five suitcases and was ready to go. I still didn’t feel like I was just as mature as my older college friends and I thought that I still looked like I was twelve years old but I figured I had to go sometime.
We finally made it to the dorms and began unloading my clothes and the eight million bags of food that my mom had packed me. Although I wasn’t too worried about my new roommate seeing as how she was a friend from home and we had already decided to live together, I still was unsure about sharing my room and not being able to have the privacy that I had back home. I was worried that the little habits that I had that no one at home seemed to mind might annoy my roommate and that my roommate might have just as many annoying little habits that I might not be able to handle as well. But I sucked it up for the sake of my family, and my roommate and started unpacking everything. After I tearfully said goodbye to my family and had all my things unpacked and put exactly where I wanted, my roommate and I decided to go around our hall and see whom we would be living with for the next two semesters. As we went around to different rooms and met different people my nervousness seemed to diminish. I began to realize that not everyone here knew everyone else and everyone was just as anxious and nervous about being here as I was. I started to feel better and was actually kind of excited about living here all by myself. As I started to go to my new classes I realized that they were kind of hard but that I was ready for them, I was ready for the challenge. I did have tons of homework and it has been overwhelming sometimes but I’ve also gotten a better sense of what I can handle and what I want to do with my life.
Now that I have one semester behind me and have gotten a better taste of the true “college experience” I’ve realized that the expectations that I held in September have definitely changed and I’m not so scared of living on my own. I’ve met plenty of people that I don’t think I would’ve had a chance to become friends with if I had not come to college. And although the classes are kind of difficult and the food was worse than I expected and I still haven’t gotten used to my roommate’s messiness, I’ve grown to like the college environment. I’ve learned that my mom was actually right. I did get used to it and I have no idea how I ever managed to live at home. I still miss the security of living at home and the home cooked meals that are nonexistent here and the friends that I grew up with but I know that we’ve all changed and those memories are just that – memories. And when times get too tough my mom is just a phone call away. But I’m not too quick to call her and have her solve my problems. I’ve learned that I can usually work things out by myself. I’m glad that I’ve gone through these changes in myself and it makes me realize that I don’t need to fear change, that it’s just a part of life that everyone has to go through sometime. I still think I look like I’m twelve though.