The Real College Experience As Told By Me

The Real College Experience As Told By Me

The best parts about college.
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T'is the season for touring schools. Every year, around this time, it seems there is a mass migration of all prospective students and their families to campuses worldwide as if they are all some sort of prehistoric species looking for a warmer climate. However, rain or shine they make their way from campus to campus on the hunt for the perfect fit. It seems like just yesterday my family and I were partaking in this journey. It is a scary place out there on the "wild" unknown college campuses. I remember from my touring days, I was so overwhelmed by the vast amounts of people- all types- and they towered above me in a way that made them seem more like giants and less like college students. To say the least, it was overwhelming, but when you find that perfect school and everything clicks- it makes the journey worth it.

I remember the first time I entered UMW's campus: it was like someone came and knocked the wind right out of my chest- and oddly I didn't mind at all. It was like that feeling people often describe when you find the perfect wedding dress- that serendipitous "you just know" feeling. The beautiful campus, the small class sizes everything just clicked. Finding the perfect school can be hard, but I hope this article reaches some nervous high school Junior out there, who doesn't know where to start on their search for a home away from home. Take the leap, tour Mary Washington, become an Eagle, and learn how to fly.

Dear UMW,

Thank you...

1. Thank You for Taking Me Out of My Comfort Zone

I was an insecure, sheltered, small town girl when we first met. I left my mountains for you, in search of myself. It was between your old brick buildings and cast iron gate that I found opportunity, and with this opportunity, I work (to this day) on perfecting who I knew I was. It was hard trusting you. You were nothing like I had known before- fast cars, big roads and people using slang like "a brick" or "what a sice." It was not always easy either, there were times I wanted nothing more but to return to my mountains, but looking back now I'm sure glad I didn't.

2. Thank You for Introducing Me to the Love of a Life Time

I sure have met a number of amazing people since I stepped foot on this magical campus, but never in my life have I met someone like him. College is supposed to be a time to figure out who you are, but it seems he came here already knowing. Not only does he seem to know just who he is, but those times where I felt most overwhelmed- he helped me remember who I was. He is my best friend and perfect compliment; tackling college may be our first adventure, but, with a partner like him, I know there will be many more to come.

3. Thank You for Giving Me the Perfect Roommate

It may have taken a year to meet her, but she was 100% worth the wait. She is one of those people you meet, and can't help but love. It's like we were cut from the same cloth, her and I. Whether it is binge watching Pokemon on a Saturday night, or making Mc. Donald's runs- in just one year we have made some of the most memorable moments of my time here at UMW. She is the Bonnie to my Clyde, the Pikachu to my Ash and someday a future bridesmaid. She is my adopted sister in my home away from home and I couldn't be more thankful to have her.

4. Thank You for My Second Family

A second home isn't home without a family, and I am lucky enough to call these crazy people OHANA. We are all different, but somehow it just works. I feel extremely blessed to have them as my support system, and I know they will always be there. Whether we are cramming for finals or having a League of Legends marathon, I know I can count on them to be there- with their sassy comebacks too.

5. Finally, Thank You for Your Many Lessons

In and out of the classroom, UMW, you are constantly teaching me things. I came to you a shy, sheltered small town girl but every day, through the many blessings you brought me, I emerge a better version of myself- and that is why UMW is the best choice I ever made.

Love,

A Verry Happy and Blessed Eagle

Cover Image Credit: Libby Patterson

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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I Wonder If You'd Be Proud of Me

Or if you even think of me at all.

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I wonder if you'd be proud of me.

My first thought when I wake up in the morning is whether or not you still think of me. I think about if I am wearing the right outfit if I were to see you that day. I think about if I am saying the right thing for you to want to want me again.

Throughout my day, I think about whether or not you're happy. I wonder if the feeling in my heart of missing who I thought you were is making its way to you. Sometimes I think about what I did to make you hate me as much as you do.

Sometimes when things get really hard, I think about picking up the phone to call you. Time keeps passing from the last time I saw you and during that time I've painted a picture of you that would probably only disappoint me in the end. Your phone number still sits in my phone and I go to your contact, wanting to call, but knowing that at the other end is not the person I used to know.

I wonder if you watch me. I wonder if the posts I make, pictures I post, and articles I write are viewed by you and whether or not you care to even search my name. I wonder if you ask people about me or if you care to know the person I am today.

Without you, I have changed. It has been two years and though time will only continue moving on without you, I wonder what would have happened if I didn't make the choices I made to make you react in the way you have.

When the sun shines bright on the flowers blooming around campus, I think of your jokes and sarcastic wit. When the rain pours from the sky and keeps me imprisoned within the walls of a building, I think of ways I felt imprisoned by you. When clouds form shapes in the sky that I can make stories out of, I think of the way life could've been.

Sometimes I write to you. They are the letters I can never send because I have to remind myself that though we knew each other once, you do not know me anymore. The picture in my mind of who you are now is someone who'd love me with open arms, but I know that there's no truth in that. It's only my wishful thinking out to break my heart once more.

I wonder if you hear me when I try talking to you. I wonder if the words I tell God are making their way to you as you go on living the life we always talked about when times get tough. I wonder if you're talking to God about me.

As I watch the sunset, I think about the last moment I was with you. As that chapter ended, I was only wishfully thinking that walking away would save me from further pain. In the end, I don't know about how life would've been different had it not happened.

When my picture of you gets too bright and I share it with others, I am reminded of reality. The screaming, crying, pushing, shoving, and hitting touches my skin once more in the form of flashbacks that push me further down into the depths of a depression. I am reminded of the hundreds of suicidal thoughts and letters that I've written once before.

No matter what, my heart still yearns for a hug. A hug where I can bury myself into your body and feel safe. A hug where I forget every worry in my mind and focus solely on the love.

I wonder if you'd still love me if I changed myself to be the person you've always wanted me to be. I wonder if you'd forgive me for walking away, even if it was for me to change to be a better person. I wonder if you'll ever even read this.

Days like today, I want to go back in time. I sit on the benches around campus and look up at the sky, down at the cars passing by, and listen to life move on all around me as I remain stuck. I hear people talking, see them laughing, and wonder if there's any way I could one day feel as alive as they do.

The truth is that I was never enough for you. No matter how much I changed, kept notes of what you liked so I could be like that, or just kept my head down and moved silently, nothing was ever enough.

No matter what, though, I still yearn to be loved in the way that I picture you should've loved me. Closure does not exist. You were the ones who were supposed to hold me down. But now I am nothing to you...I was always nothing to you.

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