by Rainbow Rowell
- Starting Freshman year at college
I figured since it's the beginning of the school year, and some of you might be going to college for the first time, I thought I would tell my starting college story. One of the reasons I fell so hard for Fangirl is that to me, it perfectly depicted a real going to college experience. It brought me back to the dorms, eating in the cafeteria, and being SUPER nervous. Of course my experience wasn't exactly like Cath's, but a lot about her did remind me of my own memories.
When I first went away to college I didn't know my roommate. I know a lot of people had a phobia about rooming with a stranger, but I wanted someone completely new. I remember during my senior year of high school, there were girls running around and begging other girls that they weren't even friends with to room with them just because of the fear of the unknown. And honestly all the people I knew from HS that roomed together ended up hating each other, so the grass isn't always greener. Anyhow I was SO over my high school and could not wait to get away from those people. There was no way in hell I was going to live with and hang out with someone from there in college. NO!
The day came, I moved in, and my roommate was a girl named Brooke. She seemed okay, but wasn't really that friendly. She had gone to our college (IUP- it's a medium-ish Pennsylvania state school) during the summer for whatever it's called that you do if you don't have SAT scores or grades to get accepted outright. And she already had a bunch of friends who she had been going to school with for months.
I kind of thought whoever my roommate ended up being, we would discover college together. At least at first. But I was mostly on my own. Brooke and her friends pledged a sorority and didn't invite me to go to rush with them. A lot of the girls on my floor were nice and would let me go to parties or to eat with them, but none of them really became a good friend for some reason. I would have to go down to their rooms and invite myself along, and when we'd get to the party they wouldn't talk to me much. I felt like a total tag-a-long. It made me really sad. I didn't feel like I belonged there, I didn't feel like anyone liked me. I didn't care about classes and grades (which, in hindsight was kind of stupid). All I cared was that I was alone. I called my mom crying multiple times begging her to let me come home and drop out. She never would.
I made a good friend from home come and visit me on the weekends so I could actually go to parties with someone who was going to talk to me. It was rough. I wasn't scared to do things alone, like Cath was, I was just lonely.
Eventually my roommate realized that sororities are not all they are cracked up to be (I learned that too in my own way when I joined one... but that's a different story). We formed this really weird sisterly bond, where we didn't hang out ALL that much, but we were like family and would come running if the other person needed it. Still to this day, I love her to death and consider her like family. No one else I have ever met understands my crazy the way my Freshman year roommate does. I also made other insanely good friends. They would become this really odd cast of characters in my life. I always seem to have such a crazy variety of friends. Outgoing ones, shy ones... partyers, introverts... stoners, school nerds, school nerd who are stoners. Just all over the board, but they all made my first year of college AMAZING and so freaking fun. I wish I could tell fun stories, but I don't think any of them are PG enough for the internet.
The only thing that could have made my year better would have been being able to meet my Levi, but boys that age (in my experience) are rarely as mature and awesome as Levi.
The moral of the story is this: College probably isn't going to be what you are imagining it to be before you get there. It's going to be it's own thing regardless of your expectations. You might get off to a fabulous start, only to find that slump in the middle where you feel no one really understands you. You might start out feeling totally isolated and alone, but then you WILL find your people. In college there is always going to be people for you. It's not like high school. If there are no people for you, maybe a different school would suit you better. Maybe that's just not your place, and that's okay. Sometimes people have to go to a few different places to find their fit. But just like Cath found hers, you will find yours. I'm sure of it!!!
Now you tell me- Are you going to college for the first time? What are your fears/anxieties/excitements? If you're already past that milestone in your life, what was your experience like? If you didn't go to college, what was your first away from home living experience like??