Kissing Freshman Year of College Goodbye

Kissing Freshman Year of College Goodbye

It's time to move forward.
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It feels like it was just yesterday I was packing my bags up to move away from home for nine months. While the first couple weeks were incredibly difficult to grasp the idea of being away from home and family. I got through it just as you all probably did. The constant text messages to mom telling her how much you just want to come home was an actual thing but you knew deep down that being here at college is where you needed to be. Now here we are packing up our small dorm rooms to move back home for the summer. Even though this summer might consist of working excessive amounts of hours or not have any plans at all it still makes you excited to be home for the next four month. Although, as we pack up our bags we reflect on our first year of college.

Throughout high school, we are being prepared for the next 4 years of our lives in college but the truth is you can never be well prepared for college. There was never a point in high school where I was swamped with homework but in college, this changes. The homework pile never dies down, all nine months are filled with homework. Even during finals week, there is homework to turn in. I am sure us college kids will not miss this at all but we will miss the friends we made throughout the last nine months and the good times we all shared.

Making friends is never easy and maybe you had a friend all year you could not wait to get rid of once you leave for the summer. Maybe your roommate was the best friend you made all year. With college, you never know what it will bring you. Either way, you are grateful for the memories you have shared with each friend you made and you know you will miss this just as much as they will.

The fond memories we shared as a campus for freshman year will always be carried with us. Moving into a dorm and being independent was a big change. If you came to college to party, congratulations you accomplished something. If you came to college for an education and to make something of yourself, congratulations you did it. You started the long, stressful, and exciting journey. It is not easy and you really have to be willing to go to college because there is no slacking off and making it by like back in high school. This defines your future and this experience is something we will carry with ourselves the rest of our lives. So you should be proud of yourself for finishing your first year of college, I know I am proud of myself! It is not easy but we survived one year our of 4 years so far! For now, I am ready to go home and spend four months not having to worry about anything but work and what I will do tomorrow to keep myself busy. I am ready to be home, back with the family every day and not just weekends and a couple weeks over winter or spring break. I am ready for the endless amounts of concerts and trips I will take. So if you are ready, it is time to kiss freshman year goodbye because there is no looking back.


Cover Image Credit: Samantha Lynn

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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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Sometimes You Need To Put Yourself First, And That's Okay

It's not selfish. In fact, it's necessary.

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From a very young age, I was raised to give everything I could of myself to others.

I was told to put others before myself, even if that meant sacrificing my own happiness. It's a lesson that many of us are raised to follow in our lives, but we often take it too far. We don't realize there's a difference between being kind and respectful to others and disregarding our own needs.

Sacrificing a bit of our time and energy turns into bending over back for people who would not do the same for us. We give to toxic people, people who make us worse versions of ourselves, and sometimes, we just give far too much without looking out for ourselves. I'm extremely guilty of it.

I've been hooked on the mentality of putting myself last since I could remember. This isn't anyone else's fault. Although I was raised to put others first, it was never my teachers' or parents' intentions that I ignore my own happiness. That's just how my conscience perceived the lesson, so I carried on feeling like I was less important than everyone else in my life. It was only last year I began to recognize that it had been since my childhood that I'd been truly, ridiculously happy. I realized that wasn't fair to me.

Even though it made me feel super heartless and guilty, I had to start chopping negative, pessimistic, and toxic people out of my life. Anyone who demanded far too much from me without any reciprocation was gone. Anyone who caused me anxiety or unnecessary stress was gone. That's not to say I didn't care about them or want them in my life, but I had to decide for once what was weighing me down and how I could bring myself back up.

I'm still not used to looking out for myself in that way, and I still struggle to keep myself accountable every day. Some are better than others. Here's the thing, though: The right people for you - the very best people for you - will only add positive vibes to your life. They'll understand if you need space and they'll give it without guilt-tripping you over it. The right people will always be there for you to come back to when you're ready. Those who make you feel bad for putting yourself first are just proving to you the negative impact they're having.

You can't give what you don't have enough of. We have to start loving ourselves so that we have enough in us to give to others. While making others happy is a beautiful thing, we all deserve to find our own happiness.

Cut the toxic friend off, eat the extra brownie, take a day to yourself to recharge.

You deserve it.

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