As the lyrics “hey now, hey now, this is what dreeeeeeeams are made of” stream into my dorm room, I start to think, is college what dreams are made of? I know that when I was in high school I definitely thought it was. I expected to end up in a perfect social group instantly, adapt readily, and never feel so overwhelmed that all I wanted to do was wrap myself in a blanket and turn into a human potato. Who knows why I thought college would essentially wipe out reality and replace it with a glimmering dream, but nothing ended up like I expected it to.
College is hard, and I don’t think anyone is usually willing to say the truth about that, especially not when your relatives call and ask, or even when a stranger sees that you go to DU and asks how it is. It’s always the same response, “I love it.” And I suppose that is true for many people, and I surely hope it is. But I want to be honest for once and say that my experience was not that way, at least not for a while.
College is sort of like a bright light that shinned into my face and followed me around. It was a sheen of overwhelmedness and introvertedness and I desperately wanted it to go away. I wanted to be natural and myself and make friends, but the reality is, if there’s a bright light shining into your face, you’re going to be fucking awkward. You’re going to stumble around, half mumbling things to people, not wanting to seem like you have no idea how to handle it, making the weirdest first impressions possible. And that’s pretty much how my first four weeks of college went.
People flew by without me ever seeing their faces and I felt like I didn’t belong. It definitely didn’t feel like a dream and I sincerely wished I could change who I was. I wanted to be effortlessly outgoing and likeable. But as someone who is quieter, that takes time. It feels like that last thing there is in college is time. And I was really sad. Really really sad. And no one else seemed sad and that made it all the worse. I felt like a lone introvert in a sea of people who were loving life.
I’m going to pause this story really quickly, as don’t want it to become a dismal fall into the unstoppably depressing, because there is a bright side to it all. Maybe I’ll just skip there quickly.
Today I’m feeling a lot more me. I’ve realized that making college a dream doesn’t require removing it from reality. I’ve tweaked my dream a bit too. That bright light, it’s dimmed a little bit. And I’m finally starting to see everyone’s faces, all of your faces, and hear your stories and that makes me feel a little more human. I still have my bad days, where I feel like I’m fucking everything up, but fucking up is a healthy, unavoidable part of life. And I’m sorry to Brianna for cussing so much in this.
I can’t say there was a magical key to making things better, as they’re never truly an “all better”. Life is more of an ebb and flow of good and sucky. But I suppose it got a lot less sucky when I was sitting in the woods and realized I can’t change the facts of who I am, I can only strive to improve myself lovingly. I’m just an awkward, nerdy, sarcastic person. But I also think I am a caring, hopeful, good person.
If there’s anyone who’s reading this (and to be honest I kind of hope everyone is too lazy to read it) who feels at all the same way I felt, I hope this makes you feel like you aren’t alone, as I definitely felt like I was. And to everyone on my floor as a whole: I think you’re awesome, don’t think you need to be anyone other than who you are.
Written by Sarah Thomas, WLLC 2015-2016