I’m going to be a whopping 3,044 miles away from home next year. If Google Maps isn’t playing some cruel practical joke on me like it did the time I was an hour late to my prom bus rendezvous because I couldn’t find the host’s house (hi, I’m a really successful person), I take that calculation to mean that I’m packing my bags and traversing this country all the way from west coast to east coast. Four years and two-dozen six hour plane rides later, I will be presented with a piece of watermarked cardstock paper that says, “Jenna Buckle graduated from college with a virtually useless degree in Literary Snobbery” – therefore, the job market will be so excited that I am a literate 21-year-old who can analyze Dostoevsky and everybody will want to hire me! I am so wrong, but please smile at me encouragingly anyway!
Really, though, becoming a college freshman is serious business. My impending departure from home sends my feelings into an inextricable clash between panic and anticipation and anxiety and bliss and stress and marvel and bemusement. There is now an entirely new slate of concerns etched into my brain and although I was once called “a really chill person who doesn’t worry about anything”, I’m starting to think that maybe I’m not a really chill person who doesn’t worry about anything. And that’s pretty upsetting, especially since I get all gung-ho about absurdism and sometimes I think I’m the living incarnation of Meursault from The Stranger.
Concern One: The Seasons Are A’ Changin’
From what I’ve heard, Boston weather can and will fluctuate with the seasons. I may have read that in an informative brochure or something. They could have been a little more forward with me (i.e. Girl, our winters will whip your Southern Californian ass – love, Boston) but I get the picture either way. This is a drastic situation. I will soon be assaulted by maximum precipitation of all forms and I don’t even own anything other than flats and spaghetti-strap tops. Listen, I have no idea how to tie a scarf. I get nervous when fashion magazines tell me to layer clothing. I’ve never experienced the sensation of rain boots encasing my calves. I call those big, fluffy animal fur jackets that you find in Bloomingdale’s “big fluffy jackets” and then I wonder what I’m doing in the exotic section of the women’s department. This is definitely a plea for help.
Concern Two: Independence
Like, this is American-colonies-breaking-away-from-British-rule status. I am about to gain more independence than I would ever believe. In a month, I won’t be able to accidentally leave my hand-wash-only shirts in my mom’s laundry pile instead of mine and in a month I won’t be able to howl maniacally for my dad whenever a lightbulb in my room blows out. Going to college marks my first catapult into the real world and I would be lying if I said that the transition from high school to college doesn’t scare me. While it’s great to know that my parents will no longer be hovering over my head and that I won’t have to sit through their prolix life lesson lectures after I’ve just crammed for a calculus exam, I think I’m going to miss my folks from time to time.
Concern Three: Reinventing Myself
After joining my university’s Class of 2015 Facebook group the other day (would not recommend this if you have strong lurker tendencies), it finally struck me that the last seventeen years of my life can be herded into a giant safe labeled “null and void”. Null. And. Void. In strokes of thick, black permanent marker. Not only can I completely reinvent myself, I’ll have to completely reinvent myself. I’ve had the same group of close pals for essentially my whole life, but guess what? Now I have to convince new people to be my friends. Forging new relationships will entail stepping out of my shell and abandoning my comfort zone – which, to be honest, does not show up as a bullet point on the list of Things I Am Excellent At. Nevertheless, I am remaining sanguine about the fresh start that lies ahead. Guys, I’m already Facebook friends with ten people from my new school. Ballin’.
Been there, done that? In the same position as me? I’d love to hear your going-away-to-college stories and your advice in the comments below!