I am spending my senior year trying to make up for lost time.
As a freshman, I went through the motions, day by day. I went to class, went to work and did my homework with just enough spare time to hang out with my boyfriend and friends. I lived a very check-the-list, bullet-point life. I just wanted to just be done.
I thought I had it all figured out. I knew what I was going to college for, I got into one of the best journalism programs in Pennsylvania and was living on my own in Center City, Philadelphia. The world was at my fingertips but I let it slip through the cracks.
I don’t hate college but I definitely didn’t have that uplifting, life-changing experience like most freshmen do when they move away. I have always been a social butterfly and, coming to college, that didn’t change. I wanted to get involved as much as possible, just like I did in high school.
My high school was big but I still knew everyone. Before I knew it, I jumped in head first to a large university where I felt as small as an ant. No one knew who I was and I most definitely didn’t know who anyone else was. But, I knew it was going to be OK. I never had problems making friends and having fun in high school. What about college makes this any different?
When I moved into my dorm at Temple, I had two roommates that would eventually become my best friends and roommates for the next two years of college.
We formed a bubble that I was afraid to pop by branching out in college.
The three of us and four others (two of which were our boyfriends) were OK with being best friends for the rest of our lives. We spent all of our time together. We didn’t need anyone else. The three of us even joined the same sorority where we went to all of our meetings and events together. In the moment, I was comfortable with being in our bubble. It was comfortable and familiar but, in a way, we didn’t live outside of those four walls of our dorm room.
I had my friends, I joined a sorority, I adjusted to college perfectly, I got good grades. What else did I need? I felt as though I had it all figured out.
I didn’t. All it did was cross off a bullet point on my to-do list.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I felt disconnected from everyone on Temple’s campus. I was in a sorority of 175 women, all of which I was distant from. The thousands of people around me each day on campus had no idea I existed. I felt as though I didn’t have any friends to lean on and the friends I had in high school seemed to move on. The friends I did make in college brought nothing but drama and distress. I felt like I had no one and that’s because I let myself have no one. I felt as if the drama and mistreatment was what I had to put up with because, well, they were my best friends right?
I spent my junior year trying to branch out but, in a way, it seemed like everyone already had their group. I made a few more close friends throughout that past year but something was still missing. I realized recently that I was living a life on social media that wasn’t actually the same in real life. I went out, hung out with friends and went to fun events but I wasn’t as fulfilled as I made it seem on the Internet.
I was never able to be confined to a small life, but when adjusting to college that’s exactly what I did. My mind was made small. I had small goals, small plans and small ideas. They changed the summer before I began senior year. It wasn’t until I spent my summer studying abroad in Italy, that I realized I was doing college and life all wrong. I knew my passions and my talents but I let them run away from me.
I wish I did more for my major.
I wish I branched out more.
I wish I had that life-changing freshman year experience.
I wish I studied abroad sooner.
I wish I knew that friends come and go.
I wish I didn’t write myself off as quickly as I normally did.
I wish I took every opportunity that came my way.
I didn’t do these things before, but I could have. And now I am.
Now, as a senior, my life seems to be full circle. I have amazing friends, experiences and opportunities that I wish I could have grasped sooner. I finally feel like my social-butterfly self again. I am more connected to my sorority than I ever was before and I can walk on a campus that makes me feel at home. If I could go back, I would shake freshman year me and yell “WAKE UP.” Moral of the story is that I wish I knew then what I know now.
Halfway through my last year of college, I feel pressured to experience everything to the fullest. Honestly, making up for lost time is exhausting. Especially because, I had everything at my fingertips from the second I walked onto Temple’s campus as a freshman. I had a life handed to me but I waited until six months before I graduate to start living it. Unfortunately, I can’t chase time so, as a senior, I decided it’s time to live in the moment and make the most of it.