College was quite a big change for me. I had spent my last two years of high school as an online student, keeping to myself and just focusing on getting my work done. Back when I was in public school, I was always the quiet student. I never wanted to raise my hand or introduce myself to a group of my peers. This led to me living out my public school days going unnoticed by teachers and classmates. I never wanted that, of course. I always had good grades, and I was even in the gifted programs throughout elementary and middle school.
Despite good grades and a gifted status, the lack of acknowledgment I received due to my shyness led to great insecurity. As soon as I got into high school, I never felt like I fit in. I didn't feel as though I belonged with the 'smart' kids, or with the 'cool' kids. Eventually, I decided to drop my honors classes and keep to myself even more.
Needless to say, after forming all these isolating habits and painful insecurities, the weeks leading up to my first college semester were nervewracking. I wanted to turn a new leaf: focus hard on schoolwork, maintain a social life, and work on my mental health. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle it all, and my anxieties grew as the first day of classes approached.
Looking back, I had so much anxiety for no reason. By the second week of classes, I managed to find a friend group that I fit perfectly into. Finding this friend group benefitted my confidence greatly. It had been years since I felt so much love and support from a group of people. They genuinely appreciated me as much as I appreciated them. They always helped lift me up and laughed at my jokes. Honestly, I had forgotten 'humor' was even one of my qualities. I had finally broken my isolation habit, and their friendship also helped me work through my insecurities.
As far as schoolwork and classes go, I worked hard to be confident. I spoke up in classes and raised my hand often despite being in a 98 person lecture. I ended up making so many great relationships with professors. My professors respected my input, valued my opinions, and were proud of me. Two, in particular, helped me to see my potential. They allowed me, for once, to honestly believe that I am a bright student, and helped me remember how much I truly love learning and writing.
These experiences with my professors, friends, and even the extra time I spent with myself have created a much more confident and comfortable me. I am forever grateful for all I have learned and how much I have grown in just a single semester. I'm so excited to see how the rest of these college years will shape me.