"College is the best four years of your life." We've all heard it from our parents or other adults in our lives. Whereas high school is a period of time defined by insecurity and uncertainty as to what our place will be in the world, college is a time where you can be whoever you want to be and be accepted for it. What the parental figures in my life failed to tell me was that the transition to college is really not all kicks and giggles. Leaving home to go to school, whether it be a 30 minute drive away or a five hour plane ride away, is a scary thing. Even if you aren't going far from home, moving out for freshman year of college marks a huge transition in your life-the first time your permanent home is not with your parents.
Of course, we all know the day is coming when we get nudged out of the nest and finally live on our own, but in my mind, I always pictured myself being an established, fearless adult when this day actually came. When the time did come for me to leave home, I didn't feel like the confident person I had envisioned. I felt scared, unprepared, and too young to be leaving home. I didn't want to stay in high school, but no part of me wanted to leave home yet. I was stuck in my fears and as a result, I pretty much had a mental breakdown when it came down to actually getting on that plane for my freshman year.
What I always thought was supposed to be the best year of my life turned out to be one of my hardest. Everything I was familiar with changed-my routine, my home, and the people I had been surrounded by my entire life. I was thrust into a tiny dorm with someone I barely knew, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, and my parents were a few states away. I felt completely alienated, and I wondered why I was so miserable when everyone else seemed to be having the time of their lives.
As time goes on, I hear from more and more people who battled similar feelings that I did. Although I didn't know it at the time, it seems that many of my peers were also feeling the same when it came to the struggles of freshman year. Depression and anxiety are overwhelmingly present among college freshman, something that I was completely unaware of going into my college experience. For some, college may become home within the first week of being there, but for me it took a whole year to finally consider college home. Ultimately, freshman year can be tough, and it comes as a shock to many when they realize they aren't having the time of their life a few weeks in. I do believe now that college will be one of the best times of my life, but for me, and many other young college students, the first year is a difficult transition that is necessary to help us grow up.