This week’s post is going to be a little different. Instead of writing about something that currently makes me nervous, I am going to take a look at something that once made me nervous: leaving for college. This stroll down Memory Lane is inspired by a recent rewatch of Undeclared paired with tales of my friend’s brother’s move into college this past weekend. While the aforementioned brother seemed to handle his transition wonderfully, I did not. I was a mess throughout the entire process. The night before, I held my high school friends hostage until 4am, refusing to say goodbye and spontaneously bursting into tears. I fought with my sister for the entirety of the four hour car ride to the school. I yelled at my parents for not handling my DVDs with enough caution during the move-in and then begged to spend the first night in the hotel with them, because I had given myself a stress-induced stomach ache. After spending that first night in my dorm and realizing that I was 100% on my own, I cried my eyes out as I said goodbye to my parents.
While I ended up absolutely loving college and sobbed just as hard when I had to leave, moving into school was the most terrifying transition of my life. Everything was new and all of it made me nervous. So, without further ado, here are ten of the many many reasons why leaving for college made me nervous.
1. The Roommate Sitch
While it’s not my greatest quality, I have a pretty low tolerance for people and get annoyed easily. Frequently throughout high school my mother would ask me, “Who don’t you hate?” Therefore, I was all but assured that I was going to hate my freshmen roommate. I had nightmares about all the awful, horrible qualities she might possess. Then, when I actually moved in and spent time with her, she was a pretty cool chick! In the years following, I had the misfortune of sharing space with some less-than-cool chicks, but the thing I learned about roommates is you don’t necessarily have to be bffs, you just have to coexist… or be willing to file a room change request form.
2. Everyone Will Be Smarter Than Me
I am the oldest child in my family and didn’t have many older friends in high school. So, my image of college was shaped entirely by TV, movies and my high school teachers’ warnings of things that “wouldn’t fly in college”. I feared that I, like most high school shows, would be unable to successfully transition into college. I had this idea in my head that all of my classmates would be brilliant and I would be the class idiot. That was very much not the case. Turns out, admissions offices kind of know what they’re doing and accept people who are capable of functioning at the academic level of their institution! Also, there’s tutoring.
3. Deciding on a Major
It took me two months to decide on posters for my dorm room, so the idea of having to choose something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life at age eighteen was overwhelming. The funny thing is, I went into college knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I just needed a few years and a lot of heart-to-hearts with my advisor to have the courage to vocalize it. College is about making your own choices and finding what excites you. So, even if you graduate with a degree in something you hate, you’ve at least learned that you hate that thing. It’s okay to change your mind. You’re not glued to your major for life.
4. Losing Touch With High School Friends
I was blessed with some pretty bomb-tastic friends in high school and the reality of not seeing them every day was heartbreaking for little college-bound me. I was devastated at the idea that these wonderful people who I loved might not be in my life one day. Over the years, I did lose touch with some. The reality is, people change and some friendships aren’t meant to last forever. However, I’m proud to report that many of us have stayed close. I just liked a photo of one of my high school bff’s babies on Instagram and Snapchatted another a picture of my laundry pile. Sure our friendship isn’t exactly as it was at eighteen, but that’s okay because we’re not exactly as we were at eighteen either.
5. Making New Friends
I was kind of a weirdo in high school. I exclusively wore clothes manufactured by Puma, I was unhealthily obsessed with TV and I wrote cheesy poems in my free time. However, I was good at sports, funny in class and a good listener. People were willing to look past my weirdness because they saw value in my other skills. Going to college, I feared people wouldn’t be able to recognize what made me cool and I would have trouble making friends. The opposite happened. People actually liked me because of my weirdness instead of in spite of it. I befriended some of the weirdest most wonderful people during my four years and we threw the greatest theme parties ever.
6. The Freshmen Fifteen
I feared the freshmen fifteen. Then, I gained the freshmen fifteen. The thing is, when you stop playing sports and start eating unlimited dining hall pizza, you’re gonna put on a few. Did the extra poundage interfere with my enjoyment of college? Not at all. Most of my favorite memories of freshmen year involve smuggling food from the dining hall, dragging our mattresses to the floor and laying around watching The O.C. for seven hours.
I had never done a load of laundry before leaving for college. Now, before you call me spoiled, let me tell you that I started babysitting at age twelve and procured a job at CVS the day I turned sixteen. I guess my parents felt it was more important for me to learn the value of earning a paycheck than the value of sorting laundry. Anyway, I went to college a laundry novice. I had seen the episode of Friends in which Rachel turns all her whites pink, so I knew that I needed to separate out my whites, but other than that I was clueless. I eventually figured it out. Well, sorta. I actually still struggle with laundry and do it as sparingly as possible. Last Christmas I flew home with a suitcase full of dirty clothes. I guess some things never change.
“Roofies” or date rape drugs, became a media phenomenon in the late ’90s and early ’00s. I remember there being a lot of 20/20 and Nightline specials about guys slipping drugs into girls’ drinks at bars and parties. There were articles in Seventeen and Teen Magazine warning me against putting my cup down at a party. The scare tactics worked, I went to college petrified of being roofied. Luck for me, the only contact I had with date rape drugs came fromVeronica Mars episodes. That show is basically one long roofie awareness PSA.
9. Date Rape
You know what else those Seventeen articles warned me about? Date rape. Therefore, I was the “mom” of my group of friends freshmen year. If we were at a frat party, I was the one who stayed sober and kept track of everyone. I would bounce from room to room keeping tabs on where my friends were and who they were with. If a guy was hitting on my roommate, I would make stern eye contact with him, letting him know that I knew who he was and would be able to give accurate description to the police if anything sketchy were to go down. I maybe wasn’t the most fun my freshmen year, but none of my friends got raped!
10. I Made the Wrong Choice and Ruined My Life
Choosing a college was an enormously stressful decision for me. It involved multiple pro/con lists and a lot of soul searching. The two schools I decided between were totally different and the one I ended up choosing wasn’t my top choice when I applied. When I left for school I was terrified that I had made the wrong call and messed up my entire life. Looking back, it’s so silly. I 100% made the right call. I would have been miserable at that other school. Yet, even if I went to that other school and was miserable, I could have transferred. When you’re eighteen and making major life choices for yourself for the first time, everything seems so monumental. It’s not though. It will all be okay. You’ll love college or you’ll hate college. You’ll graduate in four years or you’ll drop out after two. None of it is life or death and all of it will help shape the person you will become. Just keep your head up, never leave your drink unattended and you’ll be fine.