college is a very strange and sometimes painful experience. even when going to school close to home, the sensation of being on your own can become overwhelming at times. it’s a strange balance between learning how to be independent yet occasionally feeling like you’re still in high school. the variety in teaching styles, schedules, and peers can be refreshing for some and stressful for others.today i’d like to share some of my thoughts on living in dorms, meeting new people, and dealing with classes that are run far differently from public secondary schools.
last semester, i had a roommate i’d never met before. at the time this was a perfect scenario, since the people i would have known from before i hadn’t talked to in years. i didn’t want to face the drama i’d seen some of my friends go through, rooming with a friend that turned out to be not so great to room with. i quickly realized, however, that even though my roommate and i got along, i was not the type to accept another person’s organization (or lack thereof) in my personal space. i love to clean, and looking at a decluttered, peacefully decorated room makes me content. this can’t really happen when living with another person unless she feels the same way. this semester, my roommate switched to live with a friend whose former roommate is on a semester abroad. now that i have the room to myself, i am free to organize and decorate as i please. i was surprised, though, how i almost missed hearing the sounds of my roommate’s textbooks rustling in the background, or her skyp calls with her family back home. it’s a bit of a lonely existence now, but i prefer having my own space.
when i came to college in august, i had a three-step plan: get good grades, work as much as possible, and do NOT make any friends. after years of middle and high school drama and shallow friendships ending when one person can no longer use the other, i figured i’d be better off avoiding people all together. that plan was quickly foiled when on the second day of classes two girls invited me to eat dinner with them, thus inducting me into a large group of people. also, by the surprising outcome of an anonymous yik yak meetup, i met someone who quickly became one of my closest friends here. i still worry sometimes whether all the new friends i’ve made will turn on me like the old ones did, but i’m trying to remain optimistic. after all, cramming for finals and writing nine-page papers four days before they’re due is much less painful when you have someone to joke around and pray with.
college classes have much more variety than high school ones. for some peopl this lack of guaranteed structure can br extremely stressful, but for me it was a welcome change from the usual sit-down, droned-at, copy-notes classes i’d had for the past six years. some of my classes are still like that, true, but most of them encourage discussion and can get pretty off-topic. the homework varies as well: some professors assign text-book questions, while others have online discussion groups or videos to watch for in-class review later. i enjoyed almost all my classes last semester, and even in the one i didn’t i was able to take away new perspectives on some important issues.
all in all, going to college is the most challenging thing i’ve done – not so much academically, but in learning how to adjust constantly and stay reassured that everything and everyone will be alright. if you don’t want or need to go to college to do what you want to in life, please don’t feel like i’m saying you’re missing out. there have been many, many nights when i wondered if i made the right decision on my majors, my job, or even coming to college at all. however, it’s far from all bad, and although at times i’m terrified of the thought, i can’t wait to see what God has for me these next few years.