College Feels Like A Different World, But I Kind Of Like That
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College Feels Like A Different World, But I Kind Of Like That

It's finally starting to feel more real that I am a full-time college student.

College Feels Like A Different World, But I Kind Of Like That
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It's finally starting to feel more real that I am a full-time college student. I felt it begin to sink in as I watched the sunset the other day from my dorm window, looking at all the gorgeous, warm colors in contrast to the dark, tree-smothered hills that surround campus. Admiring the beauty of it all was so heart-warming before I remembered that those are the same trees that make Ithaca as isolated as it is. It started to feel like a hole in my chest, especially in combination with my feelings about already being separate from my family, who I've been close with all my life, for longer than ever before.

I am here, somewhere much more rural than the town I grew up in 10 miles from the nearest NYC borough. My family is a four- to five-hour drive from campus, with mainly just texting and FaceTime to fill the gap. I used to talk with them constantly, since we lived in the same house, and now part of me feels like I've FaceTimed them a lot for someone who's supposed to be becoming independent. But I also feel resentful towards that, because there's nothing wrong with calling home, especially in the beginning. I think the main thing I'm forgetting to focus on is the becoming part.

I'm becoming independent, but not on my own. After all, college isn't total adulthood- but this is about more than that. On a small scale, I have support in my "becoming" from loved ones at home, but also I have my new friends- like my roommate, for example. Our new relationship is growing in a way I couldn't be more grateful for, and I think that's part of it. One of the reasons I chose IC was the larger-scale community I saw when visiting. There was so much kindness from so many people. I knew that most of my growth in high school pertained to the support system I had found in friends and teachers, and wanted to know I could have that when I moved on from that stage as well. It hasn't even been a month, but already this friendship is a lot of what I was looking for. The way we've been able to hang out together, live in the same 12-by-15 little box, and talk about our experiences transitioning here is so valuable to me. It's different than my home environment, of course, but in a good way.

If you read my first article, talking about my excitement for this new chapter, you probably won't be too surprised to hear that I've found a lot more comfort being myself here. Yes, I'm still making progress - it was never going to be perfect right away - but something about a new environment known for its acceptance of different people has made me feel freer to just do things. Some of these things are little and pretty insignificant (I'm still hungry? I'm just gonna go grab another cheeseburger because I'm an adult!!) but some are bigger in comparison to my past. I pushed myself to start up a conversation with the people I ended up sitting next to during the events during welcome weekend, which ended up being much easier than anyone from home would've expected it to be for me. I've been to a number of social events on campus, even outside of the Welcome events, and done things from talking to more new people to riding a mechanical bull. (Yes, really.)

Like I said in that article- no one knows that past me who I felt so trapped in, so they don't expect me to be like her. Being here has shown me that my worrying about that had a much larger effect on me than I thought. Sure, there's still some judgement, like upperclassmen looking to mock freshmen, as they do (which, by the way, is one of the more strange and uncomfortable things coming from senior year of high school), but most of it is healthy. I feel pressure when performing because I want to be my best, and hearing upperclassmen with more training than me adds to it. I feel pressure to be cleaner because my roommate is here and either of us could bring friends to the room on a whim. But more than those things, I feel more confident in following my own journey to the person I want to be. It has been a bumpy road even just through these past few weeks, but I'm letting myself be vulnerable in a number of ways- through speaking up, through writing essays like these, and more. My thoughts are a bit scrambled from all that there is to think about during this crucial time, but I know it's worth some stress. There are so many adventures waiting for me and I feel more ready than ever to embark on them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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