The one month I’ve been in college has quite possibly been the most exciting period of my life. Not to be a complete melodramatic, but the very moment I moved into my college dorm was in essence, the very first step taken towards autonomy — I have memories of my mother’s sentimental tears to prove it.
I spent my first week of college like I had never tasted freedom before. I filled the week with senseless decisions, as if regret had been forcefully shoved back into Pandora’s Box. The first week of college there was no stream of ‘Where are you?’ classic-worried-parent texts at midnight. Plans were plans, at whatever hour, at whatever cost.
While I reaped the benefits of freedom, I also began to face the consequences of my actions. By the time that first week was over, I was tired in every sense of the word. Not only was I sleep-deprived, but I began to grow exhausted of a lifestyle that took a toll on both my mental and physical health. Sometimes, I’d close my eyes at parties and drift off. The Chainsmoker’s Closer turned from my college anthem to a lullaby.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy partying — I very much do. But being autonomous is much more than being away from authority figures, it’s about being your own authority figure.
I had considered myself fairly independent at home, but I now realize that in many ways, I was very dependent upon my parents. I could come home every day to food on the table, or food in the fridge that I could make myself. The laundry room at home was a three-second walk away. In college, I’ve hand-washed so many dishes and taken the trash out more times in the past month than in the three months of my last summer at home. My parents never expected I thank them for taking on these responsibilities, they just did them because they love and care about me.
Responsibility does not only mean doing household chores. It means putting aside time to go to the gym, telling yourself when to go to bed, or when to wake up. It’s about actively seeking places to study, and monitoring your budget. But possibly most importantly of all, it’s about seeking balance.
Balance to me, means finding contentedness in finishing tasks that need to be done, and allowing time to indulge in the most selfish and self-centered four years of my life. There’s so much to look forward to each and every day that I’m here. I meet and talk to a new person almost every day, or discover a new nook on campus I hadn’t yet discovered.
There's so much to look forward to that I have yet to even think about imagining. But there's time. I'll take it day by day.