Oh Yes, It's OK To Be Totally Miserable When You First Go To College

Oh Yes, It's OK To Be Totally Miserable When You First Go To College

Moral of the story: 1. Don't let social media fool you, no one's life is perfect, and 2. It's okay if it's hard.

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At this time two years ago I felt more than ready to delve into the unknown that would become my new life: college.

Let me give you a glimpse into my life just before leaving home (or at least how I viewed it): eldest sister of three, exceptionally independent having been ready to leave the nest for three years now, outgoing, friendly… Basically perfectly acclimated to leave home and start a far more independent life.

Flash forward about a week into my freshman year and, for my thousand something instagram followers, my life looked obscenely perfect: new girl in Kappa Kappa Gamma, a totally strong relationship with her hometown boyfriend, no mental illness (Depression? I don't know her!), always out at parties with her new best friends, exploring the hip-town that is LA, smiling in the SoCal sunshine all day everyday, does not miss home whatsoever.

How my life really was? An 18 year old hot mess who doesn't love her social life, has a less-than-perfect long-distance boyfriend guilting her for leaving, psychiatrist puts her on a 40 mg dose of prozac (rather than her normal 20) due to increasing depression, hardly able to get out of bed, cries at least twice a day, calls and texts her mom all day, is a homesick wreck.

You get the picture.

The thing about leaving for college is that you never consider the possibility that you're going to be miserable for even a second. No one wants to admit her first few weeks or months were anything but the absolute BEST time of her life. Even if you call your friends crying, they won't admit life away from the comfort of home is difficult, even scary, at times.

Everyone wants to maintain the illusion that their life is oh-so-much better now that they're a ~college student.~

The fact of the matter is that it probably won't be, nor does it have to be! There will be times when you're absolutely miserable and wish more than anything to be back in your living room, sitting with your mom and your dog watching Netflix.

It doesn't make it any easier that everyone's social media accounts are filled with ONLY the highlights of how "great" their lives are.

For me, the first six weeks were the hardest. I longed for home more than I ever had. The fact I wore my heart on my sleeve only made things harder because, even once I opened up, very few would admit to me that they, too, were struggling.

It took all my strength, a few scares with my mental health, and incessant urging from my parents not to move back home and go to the local college, for me to truly settle into my new life.

To my surprise, once I made it through those first weeks, I was happier than I had been in years. Life finally felt like it was falling into place. I dumped the toxic people holding me back from my hometown, and made some great new friends.

I'm now a junior at UCLA and I haven't spent a summer back home, merely because I have no interest in ever living home again. I enjoy the independence and opportunities my new life affords me, even if it's difficult at times.

My life now? A 20 year old who just moved into her first apartment with some friends, spent the summer traveling with her more-than-perfect graduate boyfriend, still on prozac but back to a regular dose, calls her mom once a day because she still misses her, with a new puppy at home.

Don't get me wrong, there are still times when I yearn for the warmth of home, family, and my old friends. I think of the simplicity of living with my parents. The difference is, I now view those things as something I'm lucky to be able to miss, rather than life-or-death necessities.

***

I recall the winter of my sophomore year being at party back in my hometown and talking to a girl who had just recently finished her first semester at college. When I asked her how it was, she told me it was difficult, that she was really questioning if leaving had been the right decision.

I told her how painful my experience was—she was shocked, "But it looks like you literally have the perfect life!" I laughed and told her how fake social media can be, and that if she pulled through a little longer, life would get better.

Moral of the story: 1. Don't let social media fool you, no one's life is perfect, and 2. It's okay if it's hard—that's perfectly normal.

Stay strong!!!

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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To Love a Broken Vase — An Ode To Valentine's Day

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

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I remember an anecdote my elementary school teacher told us in the fifth grade. When a mother is pregnant with a child, they feel comfortable in their flesh. Provided with everything they needed to survive, they don't have to worry about anything. It's not until after they are born and the umbilical chord is severed that they realized they were not good enough, and insecurities fester.

I went through a similar process when I was growing up. Contained within my family and books, I felt like I held the world in my hands. It was not until high school where I seriously sought out others for company and wanted to apply myself to the social universe. And I saw myself changing in not only my behaviors, but how I see myself within the world.

With working hard to get good grades, with trying to get my driver's license, and becoming a better person overall, I realized the process involved a lot more effort than I ever had expected. And I found myself unprepared for the slow drudgery of it all. While I once pushed through to get things done, now I find myself giving up on projects while coming up with new ones. I frequently turned to my laptop for solace, as it kept my fantasies alive, but it also stole time away from me.

These behaviors showed in my relationships: I found it hard to meet up with friends, and my parents started worrying about what would my future look like. With the latter, I've had multiple conflicts with them, with me asserting I wanted to be free from everything, including accountability. Of course, that perception was quite unrealistic — to love and be loved, as well as to succeed, there has to a tug to know when you're doing something wrong.

***

A year ago, I wrote an article about how I saw romantic love from somebody who has never been in a relationship. Many things still apply today — I'm better off working towards my educational and career goals than seeking out love, though with Valentine's Day, it still fascinates me on whether or not I could be loved from somebody else.

From what I've heard from others, they would be charmed by my intelligence and kindness, neither fulfilling the stereotype of a nerd nor the perfect angel. However, the naivete would also put someone off, and potentially puts them in danger. I also see myself as the spontaneous type, but to the point where I forget where my priorities are, again making them worse than they really are. I imagine they would be intrigued by me as a friend or a lover, but end up breaking away after a short amount of time.

I don't imagine finding myself loving other people in the short term; however, I find myself open towards others. And that what makes me more afraid about how people view me--will they not be able to see the positives in myself when the time comes? Will they be just as capable of forgiving me the same way my family does?

At the end, I should take my friend's advice for Valentine's Day — love oneself. And take actions to make sure that I can love myself deeper and further.

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