Growing up, I always assumed college would be the best four years (give or take) of my life. Movies make college out to be this wild ride, full of parties and constantly being with friends. It's easy to fall into the facade that television gives you, especially when you're a high school senior. As move-in day approached, I was extremely excited to meet a ton of friends and be out and about all the time.
What the movies don't show you, though, are the difficult times you go through.
Television fails to show the countless nights you spend questioning your major and how it will inevitably affect your future. It doesn't warn you about the nights you spend homesick in your room, wishing your mom was there to give you a great big hug (even though you always hated them back home). It doesn't show the many nights spent up until dawn, studying for that big exam that could make or break your GPA. In a nutshell, college and gaining independence is not all rainbows and sunshine like I'd assumed they'd be.
I wasn't always sad during my first semester of college, but my strength to overcome was tested in more ways than one.
In high school, it's somewhat easier to make friends because of how consistent your schedule is. No, you won't necessarily be in the same class with the exact same people every semester, but more often than not, you'll know a majority of the people in your classes. College is completely different -- you may know one or two people from previous semesters, but most of the time, you're with new people every semester. Every class is different and holds different opportunities -- your professor may be more strict than others, the class may work well together or may not, and your selection of new friends can vary. Making friends in college is way harder than I anticipated, which made it easier to fall into a downward spiral of loneliness.
Loneliness in college is way more common than most people like to admit, but it needs to be talked about.
No, college is not the complete opposite of the movies. There are so many great moments that you will endure, and you will meet plenty of great people to help you along the way. However, there is an equal number of times spent doing nothing or only doing homework. Sometimes, days are tough to go through and it seems as though you're going through this big life change alone. The important thing to remember is that it's okay to feel this way. It's okay to let these feelings get to you on some days because we all need time to recognize our emotions and thoughts. If these moments of loneliness taught me anything, they taught me how to persist and keep my head up. When your happiness truly depends on you and your decisions, you learn to try and roll with the cards you've been dealt. Take the moments of feeling down as a learning experience. It's okay to take a day to lay out all of your emotions on the table. I was always told, growing up, that you give yourself one day to just be sad and acknowledge your feelings. Then, you wake up tomorrow and figure out how to make yourself better than yesterday.
College can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. It will throw obstacles your way on multiple occasions, but discovering who you are and your self worth is all part of the process.