Watching all of my friends from high school move away from last August, it certainly felt like I was the only person in the world not attending in person college in the fall.
One week after (finally!) moving into a dorm, however, it's been comforting to know nearly everyone else here was in the same, lonely place last semester.
However, having watched all of our old friends experience collegiate life for four glorious months, seeing them all form amazing friendships, and hearing their wild stories, it is nearly impossible to move in without dramatic expectations.
It is six months into college so it is easy to forget I've only known people in-person for about ten days.
The result? Insane self-disappointment.
The only comfort is knowing I'm not the only one. While social media spins a beautiful tale of everyone I know seeming to already have these magical college experiences, talking with the people that I've met has unveiled an entirely different story: we all feel like something is missing.
For some it's romantic, for others it's friends, but no matter where the loneliness comes from everyone seems to have an overwhelming feeling of not being where they're supposed to. And it makes sense. We've all been enrolled and learning for months, and all of our friends at different schools have formed solid bonds and relationships it feels like we cannot keep up with. Movies, books, songs, and social media are all constantly telling us that by the January of our freshman year we should already feel a sense of home on our campuses.
And yet we all need to take a step back and remember: we can count the number of days we've been here on one hand.
You don't make your life long friends in a matter of seconds.
You can't expect to fall in love just hours after moving in. And yet we see everyone around us seem to be thriving and you cannot help the feeling that you're doing something wrong.
The problem is that we're comparing ourselves to friends who have already experienced life on campus for months, or movies that existed in a pre-pandemic state. It's hard enough to meet people quickly on campus in normal years, let alone safely in the midst of a global pandemic.
And of course, you'll say to me, "but that girl down the hall has so many friends! That boy in my psych class is already dating!" And it truly is those blessed enough to form incredible connections online who are currently pulling ahead, and really cementing that feeling of mistake for the rest of us.
But if you're like me, newly dropped off at college with a million expectations in your head, none of which have come true, fear not.
We just need time. Nothing happens overnight. And yes it seems like everyone else is doing incredibly but it's simply untrue. Give yourself the time you need to find the people who will make you happy, and try and safely meet people until then. In a COVID-run world, the fact that you're on campus at all is impressive. You don't need to worry, you just need time.