The one, key lesson I have learned from my first few weeks of higher education has been this: it is okay for your college life to be imperfect and unconventional.
During this first half of my first semester, I have suffered from numerous insecurities.
There have been moments when I have felt like the only student on campus without a throng of best friends.
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After my first creative writing class I texted my mom and told her that I didn't think I was good enough for the course, let alone good enough to be a creative writing major.
I have eaten meals alone, woken up from a nap with a panic attack, cried because I missed my family, and have spent weekend nights in my dorm room video-chatting off-campus friends.
I have also had good moments. I have laughed with new friends, I have been proud of test scores, I have enjoyed the freedom that goes hand-in-hand with occasional loneliness.
Some of my favorite aspects of college were completely unanticipated. I found a job at the library and it turns out that I really enjoy getting paid to shelve books. I love my Latin class—there’s a certain satisfaction to memorizing declension and conjugation patterns. I like doing laundry and riding my bike to the grocery store.
These are the truths of my college life that are unconventional and therefore, I thought, invalid.
But I have realized this: I don’t need to like college for the same reasons other people like college. It is not necessary that I enjoy the aspects of college that I am “supposed” to enjoy.
My advice to fellow freshmen and high school seniors is this: throw away your romanticized guide to mandatory student living—it isn’t realistic, and it certainly isn’t mandatory.
College is supposed to be four years of new freedoms and self-exploration—it’s okay if you take advantage of that independence in ways that are unconventional. It is okay to want to be alone and okay to feel lonely.
It’s okay to do what feels right for you, whether that means spending a Saturday night party hopping or playing board games or reading a book.
Your life in college does not need to fit the stereotype of “college living.” It may take a while to find a lifestyle that makes you happy, but know that all your classmates are searching alongside you.
Everyone is trying to live up to that glorified image of the perfect college years—but the truth is that it is only an image.
Nothing is perfect, not even college, and that is okay.
Your college life does not need to be perfect, or conventional, but it does need to be yours