Oh, freshman year. Freshman year, I was eighteen years old and eager to attend a brand new experience at Florida State University. I had come up in previous years to visit friends that went here, but being here by myself for the first time with a fresh pair of eyes changed my whole outlook on college life. It was summer, better known as Summer C here. My mom and best friend had come up to help me move into my dorm. I lived in Landis Hall for the summer where I met my other two roommates. The feelings in my stomach ached with nerves, but I felt excited about a new experience. My mom and best friend left a couple of days later, and it was just me. Again.
If you have ever felt like you knew what you wanted, but didn’t know how to get there, me too.
You see, I went for the summer to branch out and make friends. For me, it wasn’t hard meeting people in the dorm, like my roommates, but I wanted more. I wanted to be a part of that sorority life which I thought would give me that “can’t eat, can’t sleep” feeling of friendship and fame. Like many other girls, I went through the whole process of wanting to fit in with that certain group of people. I had gone in with the wrong mindset, wanting to fit in so badly that this stigma lived up to its name. Thinking this way meant I wasn’t true to myself. I met amazing girls along the way, but the real truth is that I found myself along this journey when I stopped looking for a reason.
It’s hard coming to a university alone. We think that being like everyone else is important. To wear what others wear, to think average, but do you want to know the ugly truth? There is no such thing as “fitting in” and the way you feel is normal. Being yourself comes with all the fame in itself.
Life is messy. That is just how it is.
College is about finding your balance in between all the wild and messy parts, like being late to class because your alarm didn’t go off or falling in love with the wrong person. Life isn’t perfect and neither are you. My mom always told me when you are yourself, the people who love the same things as you will be your best friends because they have everything in common with your passions. Finding your place and the meaning within it isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
Throughout our lives, we think we owe a part of us to be just like everyone, but the truth is we don’t owe anyone anything. It sounds so cliché, but it is the most real thing I can share with you. Bernard Baruch once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Don’t fret because it takes time to discover the things you didn’t know.
The lessons we learn along the way like finding a parking spot, telling your friends that you don’t want to go out tonight, expressing yourself with the clubs you want to be a part of or even loving that right person that you don’t have to try around. That is the balance; having the courage to say yes, to say no, to live your life the way you want too and find that spark. It may not be easy, but it’s worth trying to find the meaning that’s important to you.
Now I’m in my senior year. It took me four years to figure this out. I met my friends who like doing nothing with me, my boyfriend who thinks I am pretty with makeup smudged on my face half of the time and I made time for the people who made time for me. It isn’t a perfect life, but whose life is? It’s mine.