Up until this year I thought I was alone in the fact that I did not like college freshman year. In fact, I didn't just not like it, I hated it. I counted down the days till I could go home. My parents visited an unnecessary amount of times, and in January, I even filled out the common application, convinced that it was the school that was making me unhappy.
I looked at my home friends, my roommate, and everyone around me who seemed to have everything together. Countless social media posts and captions claiming that they "Couldn't be happier" and that they had found their "Forever Friends." But there I was going through one of the hardest years of my life. I became convinced there was something wrong with me. There had to be a reason I didn't love this place just like everyone else. There had to be a reason why I wasn't making friends and clicking with girls as fast as everyone else.
Little did I know that so many girls felt the same way. My friends now, a group of 8 of us all admit and talk about how hard freshman year was. We talked about the number of times we cried alone in our dorm rooms and felt like we had no one. I would have done anything for someone to tell me 2 years ago that what I was feeling was completely normal and that it was not going to last forever. I look back at my own social media and it even appears that I was having a good time freshman year. Social media is deceiving, and we are often scared to admit that things aren't going as well as we'd hope. I remember coming home for Thanksgiving and everyone not even asking if I liked it but instead saying, "How much do you love it?" or "Are you obsessed?" I put on a fake smile and would respond, "It is amazing. It's so much fun." A bald-faced lie that ended up hurting me even more in the long run.
To the freshman, specifically ones going through something similar,
First off, you are not alone in this. Don't be afraid to be honest with your home friends, your family and the people around you. Ask your roommate honestly, or someone you have gotten to know from class. Chances are they are probably feeling many of the same things you are. Just be honest. The people who are not comfortable being vulnerable and saying they even occasionally have a bad day are not going to be your people. You have to be able to acknowledge this is real in order for it to get better
Second, this is not forever. I can promise you that. Freshman year was probably the hardest and longest year of my life. Not only was I having a hard time with school and friends but also was going through a lot with my anxiety. Every month did get a bit better and I had to work hard on the small steps that made it less awful. And now here I am a junior, more in love with my school than ever. I have the greatest group of friends in the world, and I absolutely love my classes and my major.
Focus on your schoolwork, get involved in clubs and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Talk to people you normally wouldn't and most of all, be patient. I can admit that I had to work hard at making friends. I had to put myself out there like I never had before. I had to tell myself that if a person or group of girls left me out it did not matter, as it is unlikely I would see them again on this big campus. I had to keep reaching out and taking too much rejection. But then when an invite or response came I knew it was a person worthy of my time. You will find your people and find your place.
Have faith in life as where you are right now is going to lead to where you are supposed to be. College is truly a time to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. Take advantage of it and trust the process. Focus on the positive. Give people a chance. Don't take everything personally. You will be okay.