Maybe it’s because I’m a girl. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl in a sorority. But it seems the one thing no one told me to expect in college is the rampant crying epidemics. From the dorm halls to the bathroom stalls, girls seem to be crying everywhere I turn.
But don’t let me give you the impression that this is a phenomenon I only watch like a National Geographic special. I’ve participated in the art of teary-eyed melancholy on more than one occasion. I’ve cried when my workload became too much to handle. I’ve cried with my roommate over boys and break-ups. Sometimes I cry when I’m HAPPY. And I won’t even get into that one time I cried to a stranger at a house party when he put on my favorite Blink 182 album, throwing me into a fit of high school nostalgia… It’s gotten to a point now that my friends and I will plan an entire evening, down to the perfect Nicholas Sparks movie and carton of ice cream, with the single aim at having a solid sob sesh. We call them LIAO— “let it all out”— nights.
How did we find ourselves on this level of One Tree Hill-worthy drama? It turns out that living on our own for the first time while juggling academics, jobs and social lives has made the “best four years of our lives” more emotionally-draining than any of us could have predicted. Our mascara-stained cheeks have put our $30 Clinique blush kits to shame. Our youthful glows have been dimmed by heartbreaks and hangovers. College has reduced us to ugly-crying memes, and I blame it all on expectations.
The concept of college is too often sketched in the image of nirvana. Before we enter the golden gates of our chosen university, we are promised intellectual enlightenment, life-long friendships, outrageous partying and, of course, the job offer of our dreams the day we step out of our graduation gowns.
Reality soon smacks us in the face: College is not a Drake music video. It’s real life. And it’s imperfect, like Donald Trump’s attempt at a presidential campaign. Although I’ve enjoyed my fair share of life-changing professors, amazing friends and killer parties, all the glamour that college has had to offer has come with an equal dose of dog crap.
If I’m going to hold onto one expectation for the rest of my college career, it will be challenges– I see you and say welcome. The more time I spend in the fetal position under a mountain of tissues, the more I lose sight of everything I actually learn from my disappointments.
Like that time my photography professor bashed my first project that actually meant something to me, I was devastated. But instead of letting her faux expertise change me, I became a rebel and dedicated every ensuing project to pushing her buttons as far as I could.
And there was that other time I had a massive crush on a guy who I thought was my own Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer 2.0, until he revealed himself as a massive jerk by our first date function. I didn’t allow myself to be possessed by some obsessive hope that he would return to being the awesome guy I was into; I accepted the fact that he wasn’t who I thought he was and stopped answering his texts. When I look back on my disappointments, I say “God Bless.” When I didn’t get what I wanted out of my college nirvana, I gained a little more wisdom and a little more bravery that prepared me for my next battle.
As my friends and I continue on our struggle bus journey, I nod to my long-beloved Blink bros. “So I guess this is growing up.”