I've gone through all the motions: I've moved into my dorm, attended a full week of classes, washed a load of laundry, stowed dining hall food in my backpack, and avoided parties in the lacrosse house. I'm well on my way to adulthood, yet I feel so childish compared to all the bearded, apathetic, and experienced seniors I see making their way around campus. After a week of the "college experience," I've begun to understand that some parts of college are not all their cracked up to be.
1. So much independence
Say what? How can independence not be the greatest thing since PB & J with the crust cut off? Let me explain. Sometimes you gain so much confidence in yourself that you forget that there are repercussions for your actions. When your mom isn't there to tell you to lay off the fries, you eat a lot of them. And when I say a lot I mean all of them. Then you discover your french fry threshold, but only after your body pays the price. Moral of the story: it's cool to be independent, just be your own mom sometimes.
2. There are too many cool people
Nothing makes your self esteem drop like people who are so much cooler than you are. You'll meet people who can sing, speak six languages, dress themselves fashionably, or play Never Gonna Give You Up on trombone. After just a few days of basking in the glow of your neighbors, you'll think to yourself, "I wish I was talented." Never fear. College can help you shake your feelings of inadequacy and diversify your skills.
3. Who isn't named Matt?
Or Jack. Or Jake. Or Alex. This might be convenient for some, but if you actually have one of these names it's disconcerting. Although your name may be common, you still have so many opportunities to differentiate yourself. I mean, appearance can help but involvement plays another role. You can meet a Jake who majors in finance and plays golf, or you can meet a Jake who majors in bassoon performance and travels home on weekends solely to pet his cats.
Maybe you'll see a dog every once in a while, but they might be too far away. At some points, asking to pet a fuzzy floppy buddy is just too much effort. We all knew this would happen but that doesn't make the fact any less painful.
5. You'll be lost a majority of the time
You don't even have to be a freshman to get lost. Some of your classes may be in hidden little alcoves of the campus, or they may not even be on the main campus. Don't be ashamed to whip out Google Maps or ask for help. Allow for some time to orient yourself and wander a little bit. If you look up and relax a little, you might notice the park on the other side of the street or the person in front of you who is just as lost.
In all honesty, college life so far has made me aware of parts of myself that I didn't even know existed. I may not be independent, cool, uniquely named, comforted by dogs, or aware of my surroundings, but I'm happy. I'm trying new things and gradually adapting to the new environment I've immersed myself in. By this time next year, I'll be challenged with new problems but I'll be approaching them with a completely different perspective.