College Good Girl or Convict?

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I’m always labeled the “good girl.” I don’t know what about me gives it away. It could be my quiet disposition or the way I dress. Who knows? Yet, the minute I introduce myself, people immediately assume I am a stereotypical follow-the-rules type of girl.

This label haunted me throughout high school. Before college, I didn’t party or get into trouble at school, or anywhere else for that matter. My parents rarely disciplined me and they never gave me a curfew because they trusted that I would return home at a decent time, no questions asked.

But worst of all, it followed me to college.

When I transitioned from a tiny, private high school to a 40,000+ undergraduate public state university, everyone and their uncle assumed I would “go wild” once I attended college. I adamantly wanted to prove them wrong. I like controlling my actions, which meant refusing to allow the craziness of college to influence me.

For the most part, I have maintained my “good girl” reputation… despite one exception.

Earlier this semester, I joined club swim and met a guy on the team who I will aptly refer to as “Club Swim Boy.” After hanging out a few times, I definitely began to develop a thing for him. So when he texted me asking to hang out his last night on campus, I couldn’t refuse. Despite my looming 8 a.m. final the next morning, I promised myself that as long as I made it back to my dorm by midnight I could see him.

College is about making bad decisions, right?

One thing on every University of Maryland freshman’s bucket list is climbing to the top of Cole Field House. Although technically forbidden, it’s just one of those things you must accomplish before you graduate. As the “perfect good girl,” my first semester was coming to a close and I still hadn’t taken this infamous dare.

I’d mentioned once to Club Swim Boy that I’d never climbed to the top of Cole Field House even though I always wanted to. Of course he remembered, and that night he suggested we do it.

After using a rusty pole to lift ourselves up the side of the building and struggling across a steep, slanted roof, we reached the top. The stars sparkled above us in the clear sky and the tiny silhouette of the Washington Monument shined in the distance. We listened to sappy music and enjoyed spending one last night together before a six week break. It seemed like the perfect night, scot-free of any worry or problem in the world–but of course, that could only last for so long.

Suddenly, as we stood on the roof, we saw a police car dart across the parking lot below us. We immediately ducked down hoping they hadn’t spotted us, but we knew our night had come to an end. We quickly slid down the roof onto a platform to slink away from the inside of the building. Just as we hurried over to open the door, two police officers emerged before we could even turn the handle.

I froze. I felt my stomach turn inside out and my heart began beating at an inhuman speed.

Club Swim Boy played it super cool, casually talking to the cops as if he’d done this before. Meanwhile I stood silently by his side hoping to God I wouldn’t get in trouble.

The police officers questioned us and asked for our student IDs. As one read our UID numbers into a cell phone, I panicked. I remember thinking, “What if I’m about to get kicked out of school? What are my parents going to say?!” I just wanted to shout, “This really isn’t like me, I don’t do bad things!”

Thankfully, they just let us off with a stern warning, reminding us that trespassing is a jailable offense.

As we walked down the steps of Cole Field House, Club Swim Boy laughed it off while I tried to wipe the look of horror off my face. He joked that he was a bad influence on me; although that may be true, in reality I was bound to escape my “good girl” stereotype one day. “Convict” seems a little far-fetched, but my “good girl” days are behind me.

College is a time to be adventurous and make bad decisions, even if that means getting six hours of sleep before a final or receiving a warning from the cops every once in a while (although I would not recommend the latter). I haven’t “gone wild” like everyone expected, but I also haven’t remained a “perfect good girl” like in high school. I’m growing up and changing, but regardless, I will always stay a “good girl” at heart.

Sophomore at the University of Maryland double majoring in English and communications. Favorite things include Jesus and avocados.

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