It's OK If College Doesn't Feel Quite Like Home

It's OK If College Doesn't Feel Quite Like Home

I can guarantee you that you're not alone.

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Going away to college is a funny thing. For me, it meant ending up at a four-year University that I was almost certain I would not attend. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Clemson fan through and through. But my heart always told me that I wasn't meant to end up there.

My mom went to Clemson alongside two of my aunts some odd years ago. They absolutely thrived there. They were both in tri-delts and knew every single girl that lived in their hall. There wasn't a party that went on in Clemson that these two didn't know about. They were unstoppable.

A few years later, my uncle went to Clemson and eventually, my older brother ended up there as well two years before I did. I felt like my family had established their legacy. There were so many stories for everyone to tell, and I absolutely loved to hear them. But, I felt like I wanted to make my own mark somewhere else. I wanted to have my own stomping grounds and my own neat places to brag about. I craved individuality.

As my high school career ended, I had a much harder time choosing where I wanted to go off to college than I thought I would have. I ended up staying home for a year and going to a local technical school while prolonging the inevitable. It didn't help much.

I applied to a number of places, and Clemson was one of them (obviously). See, I had never completely ruled it out. Even though I was afraid to live another four years in the shadow of my family's greatness, it was the sense of comfort that drew me to apply to a school I already knew.

I had walked the grounds of tiger town so many times. At football games, visiting my brother, friends who lived in the horseshoe, you name it. I loved Clemson. I just wasn't sure that it was the right place to call home.

And that's when I figured it out.

Where you go to college doesn't have to feel quite like home.

When you first get there, it's not going to. Somebody has got to give out the tough love here. It's going to be weird. There's going to be a new smell, a new air conditioner to get used to, and a new mattress that doesn't already have a cozy indentation of your body.

There will be new people, new restaurants to make your regular spots, and new sights to see.

It's going to be a whirlwind. You'll make it your own in so many ways. You'll find your favorite spot in the library to study. You'll find out which classmates to befriend for help with your statistics homework. You'll easily weave in and out of campus foot traffic in no time, and know which sorority sisters need to be avoided at all costs.

And you'll be okay. Even if all of this new knowledge and all of these new places doesn't feel like home. Because it doesn't have to. You can make a new normal for yourself during the year, then go right back to where your heart is happiest during the summer.

This time is fleeting. You won't feel like you're on this deserted island forever. You won't have to listen to 50-minute lectures that feel more like a 4-hour opera. You're going to grow. You're going to move on. You're going to always know where your heart is the happiest. And that place isn't going to go anywhere.

So, if it isn't your school, don't panic. It's not that way for everyone and nobody really is going to blame you. Because even the people who paint up for every football game still miss their mommies when they get a bellyache.

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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It's Not Easy To Keep The New You Around All Year, But It Is Possible, Fight For The Life You Want

Keep yourself in check with these tips.

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There's no better time to set goals for yourself than for the new year! However, many people have the same goals of going to the gym more or working on saving money and often don't follow through with them after the first month or two. To help keep your goals to better improve yourself, I thought I'd share some tips that help keep me in check, and can hopefully help you, too!

1. Share your goals!

If no one knows your plans, it can be easy to just forget about them or use that as an excuse to give up. However, if you tell a few of your close friends, they can hold you accountable and check in with you to make sure you're following through.

2. Evaluate who you hang out with

You want to make sure the people you're sharing your goals with are going to hold you accountable and support you. It is also important to look around and make sure everyone in your life is leaving a positive mark. Negativity will just bring you down and won't help you achieve any goals.

3. Invest

You don't need to be a pro or even know much about investing to do so, but you'd be surprised how setting a little money aside makes a difference in the long run. Many accounts even allow you to set it up so it automatically takes money from your account.

4. Help others to help yourself feel better

Many people don't realize volunteering is as simple as helping out an organization that supports something you believe in for even just an hour or two a week. You might be surprised how humbling volunteering can be and it will make you appreciative for what you have. It is also good to help make the community you live in a better place.

5. Change how you get fit

It is very common to want to get in shape and healthier for the new year, but doing it the right way is most important to make sure you can stick with your goal. Rather than rushing into things and trying to go to the gym every day of the week and not eat any processed foods, start small. Start by going to the gym once or twice a week. Start by eliminating one unhealthy meal a day. Habits don't form overnight. Changing your health takes time and realizing that is the first step.

6. Find ways to reduce stress

This may sound irrelevant, but stress can often be used as an excuse for us to not do something. While you can't completely eliminate stress, finding ways to reduce it can help you stay motivated to stick with your goals! Little ways to start this can be by finding time to meditate once a week or taking more time for yourself.

7. Pick a place to travel!

While this is not easy and possible for everyone, even finding a cheap weekend getaway is a great way to give yourself a break and evaluate how you have been doing in the year.

8. Spend less time on your phone

This is another thing where you can start small by maybe choosing to not go on your phone immediately when you wake up!

9. Become more knowledgeable with what is happening in the world

You can learn so much just by reading the news, and you never know the types of conversations you could end up having with people. This just helps keep you well rounded and a part of society. It can also help you determine whether or not your goals are attainable depending on what is going on in the world, especially with investing!

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