Signs Of Life
Well, here I am. I am here, in this dorm, in this campus, in this city, this state, this world, this life. What’s it like? Like the first part of my life was a quiet pasture, and now I find myself wandering in the mountains (grand, steep, and slippery…). Suddenly LIFE has rushed into my space, a wave of wonder and independence live on my doorstep. There are people everywhere, there are events all the time, and how much or little of it you take is all up to you. Some parts of college I expected, but others never crossed my mind. Such as, how friendly people can be that first week. Nearly everyone will just introduce themselves to a stranger and be interested to know where they’re from, what their major is, and what dorm they’re in. With so many people swarming around, I’m surprised I felt like I had air to breathe. And getting a routine down, getting used to my new surroundings? A snap. Feeling at ease? That happens as soon as you make your first friend.
What about my first college friends? Well, I was standing in the dining hall, holding my plate, when these girls at a nearby table asked if I wanted to join them. I was sort of hovering near their table, hoping they would do this. Not that I didn’t have the guts to ask myself, but because the only time their mouths weren’t open talking was when they were waiting to see if I would sit down or not. I sat down, and people got up from the table just as more came along. So I met a lot of people, and ended up staying at the dining hall until close with three of them. And then we all walked around campus. And then, just like that, I had friends. Now that it’s been over a week, our friendship has faded a bit. They all live in a different dorm, and stick together like glue. And I guess glue just forgets to invite the outsider to lunch or whatever. But life goes on. Ironically, this girl I went to high school with is not only in my dorm, but is the cousin of my roommate. Though we didn’t talk much in high school, we’ve actually become pretty close lately. She has a long-distance boyfriend back in our hometown, so we like to discuss how much we hate seeing couples around campus because our boyfriends aren’t here to hold our hands and make us seem obnoxious to other people in long-distance relationships. It’s been going well so far.
How did I feel when my parents left me? Relieved. Sad. Alone. Unsure. They cheerfully told me I’d have fun, gave a hug each, and hopped in the car to drive away while I sat in my car crying. I would have been ok if I had someone familiar and comforting like my boyfriend at my side, but realizing that he was also gone made me cry harder.
Speaking of him, long distance actually hasn’t been too bad. Don’t get me wrong–it sucks immensely. But we talk everyday, and staying busy helps a lot. There’s also little things that help, like counting down the days until I see him again (8!) and talking with my new friend from high school. I miss cuddling, hand-holding, hugging, even just seeing his face….but I know if I wait, those things will come back to me when I come back to him.
As for my mental health, I’m very proud of myself. I’ve been working out everyday, sometimes with a few girls from my floor, and try to do something social everyday too, even if it’s just grabbing dinner with someone. I’ve also been taking my medicine everyday, and only talk with my old high school gang or family every once-in-a-while so I don’t start to feel homesick. Also, I’ve started my new job at the on-campus copying center, which makes me feel good too.
So, no, nothing about college is perfect (especially the classes, but I’ll get to those another time), but I’m confident that I’ll be able to stand back up in moments of weakness and brush the dirt off my shoulders. That’s what being an adult is all about, isn’t it?