I was so excited to live on campus. I was the perfect mix of nervous and excited to live out what I thought it would be like in the movies.
I thought I was going to live the real-life 21 Jump Street/ 22 Jump Street life. I'm not talking about the parties, drinking, or drugs, either. I've never been into partying in that aspect personally, but I thought I was going to go out and live my best life out there.
I thought I was going to make a ton of best friends, meet my girlfriends for life who would later be my future bridesmaids someday, be a straight-A student who was SUPER involved in EVERYTHING and just be the *classic* college girl.
Everyone always told me, "College is going to be your time. It's going to be FOR you!"
I lived on campus for two years. Freshman year and sophomore year.
.....They were wrong. I was wrong. I was depressed living on campus. It was*so* not my best life.
I fell into a very ominous, serious, lonely, and sad routine. I remember it perfectly. (It may have been a while since I lived this routine, but I did it for a long time).
Wake up at 7 a.m. Go to work for a few hours, then immediately go to class, then right back to work, and then class...take 1 hour for lunch...then work, then class. I did the back and forth from class and work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Right after work, I went to get dinner at Boar's Head (a deli), I got the same sandwich and the same fries every time. Then I would BOOK IT as fast as I possibly could back to my dorm, lock myself in my room, which is when I would turn on my TV, turn on my Christmas lights I had put up, watch Bob's Burgers, and eat.
Then I would shower. I would do homework literally a week in advance most nights. Then I would lay my clothes out for the next day with my bookbag and set everything on the chargers, and then I would go to bed at 9:30 p.m. and do it all again the next day.
Every. Single. Day.
I didn't realize that I was depressed until I got *off* of campus. I had always struggled with depression and anxiety, and because I was unhappy with where I was at and didn't even know it, I let myself fall into a familiar routine and it just got worse. I spiraled down into the dark and twisty all whilst thinking I was leading myself into a good and healthy path.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I had the experience of living on campus and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Some of it was great. I do have some really good memories.
I met my best friend in my math class freshman year (which yes, I actually was in her wedding...*forever friends I dreamed of*). I met my fiance at the end of my freshman year, and we got engaged in the summer between my sophomore and junior year. I was involved in Dance Marathon freshman year, and I got out there and tried everything I wanted to try.
I did everything I wanted. And you know what? It ended up not being for me. And I learned that that is totally okay.
I grew up a lot living on campus. I moved out to go to college at 18 years old and I loved being on my own. I learned discipline and independence and that life plans change. I learned that just because you think that that's how something is supposed to be, it doesn't mean it has to be that way.
College will not be the best days of my life. I used to want them to be. I used to think they had to be. But instead of being sad about it...I'm actually relieved. Because I know my best days are coming. There are always better days ahead, and that is so exciting to me.
Life happens when life changes. I wouldn't trade learning that lesson for the world.
And no, my experience wasn't everyone's experience, and that's okay too.
Some people love living on campus and being overly involved. My life isn't theirs, and not everyone can relate to this. But for the people out there who really didn't love being on campus, and you feel totally alone like you didn't belong... you aren't alone.
I lost friends who I thought would be around forever. I found my best friend. I found my fiance.
And since moving off of campus, I know that I made the right decision for myself. I transitioned to online school through my same college, kept the same major, changed my minor, and made another best friend through writing for Odyssey.
I moved in with my boyfriend, who became my fiance last summer. And now, I'm planning a wedding and about to graduate college. I get to do life with my soulmate, and I consider myself so lucky to have had what I have had and to have what I do now.
Routines can be great, but don't fall into one that you don't love. So live on campus. Go to parties. Eat that doughnut. Live off of campus. Get married. Buy that outfit. Switch to online school. Write. Draw. Sing. Dance.
Just do what you want, because it's your life. And no one can live YOUR best life except for you. Do what makes you happy and sets your soul on fire.
Because I'm sure glad I did.