Uni: What I've Learnt...So Far

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I spent most of my life waiting.

In middle school, it was waiting until my braces came off, my bangs grew out, and high school came around. When high school came, I started to wait and dream about the day I would become a cool and otherworldly college student, who spent her time sitting and reading in campus courtyards, surrounded by ivy-covered walls. I read a lot of Young Adult books that only reinforced my fantasies: like all those "average"-type girls, my day would come later.

But that day will never come unless you stop waiting.

First year of university was particularly hard for me, especially considering the high expectations I had. I did not magically become beautiful or skinny or extroverted or insanely smart. I did not make friends, real friends that is, fast. I only did so-so in my classes. Once again, I was average at best.

Everyone told me that Frosh (or Freshers' Week in the UK)/ Orientation Week would be the best week of my life, or at least of my university career. But as the week went on, it became clear to me that Frosh at my uni is suited best for those who love ice-breaker games, whose favourite drink is watered-down beer, and whose preferred activity is sweaty make-out sessions on a.) dirty dance floors or b.) a make-shift "beach". 

I didn't have the best Frosh group either, simply in terms of not meeting anyone I clicked with. I stuck with a bunch of girls in my group, but like they say, you rarely become real friends with people you meet in the first week of university.

Looking back, I see that week in two ways. On one hand, I have accepted that Frosh is simply not catered to people like me and the people I met there simply weren't my people. And that's ok. But sometimes there is a part of me that regrets not taking in that week wholeheartedly and just saying "yes": perhaps I could have had fun with a better attitude -- afterall, there's nothing wrong with having a good time drinking and partying before the school year begins. And certainly I'm no "better" than those who do just that simply because I don't. 

Frosh set the mood for the rest of my semester. As I looked on at my roommate getting on with our fellow dorm-mates and meeting cute guys, I felt bitter and out of place. She is now one of my closest, dearest friends, but at that moment, I only felt inadequate next to her and the rest of my fun-loving friends on Facebook. 

I spiralled down the rabbit hole and fell into a depressive state. I messaged my high school best friend, Susan, over Facebook everyday; she too did not feel as if she fit in right away at her new university in New York City. 

I tried to go out of my comfort zone and "snap out of it" a few times that semester. Went out clubbing with some girls I didn't really know, tried talking to people in my dorm with little to no success, smiled and chatted to people in class, etc. Nothing really worked -- I couldn't find a group of friends like I had in high school.

And that was my biggest mistake. I was trying to replicate the friendships I had in high school and recreate the "college life" I saw on TV. Instead of just taking in my new environment and trying new things, new school clubs, new experiences...I was comparing everything to what I was used to and what I expected.

Facebook only made it worse. I would see pictures of people I knew experiencing it all -- college parties featuring the quintessential red solo cups, dinner parties with the new BFFs they made during the first month of uni, date nights with that cute boy from that philosophy class...the list goes on. And I would ask myself if I was different because I attended the wrong school, if the people here simply weren't the type I could be friends with.

I was blind to the fact that people only post the good times online. No one wants to air their dirty laundry for all to see.

By second semester of first year, I knew something had to change. I told myself to stop caring about what others did and thought and to focus on myself. But more than that, I told myself to be vulnerable.

Sometimes you'll take risks and it won't pan out as you want it to, but you'll still have learnt something. And that matters. You can't experience highs without experiencing lows.

At the end of first year, I applied for a position on my university's television station. I had no experience in film or anything of that sort, but I thought to myself, "fuck it, I have nothing to lose".

And this was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've learnt not only technical skills from my time at this club, but I've also met a few of the greatest people ever there.

Second year was full of both highs and lows, but probably more of the former than latter. I lost and made friends, I dabbled in some romance, and I threw away some of my inhibitions. And I have no regrets. It's only through these experiences that I can even write this post.

I'm still going to make mistakes -- that I have no doubt about. I'm just not scared anymore. Part of the reason why I started this blog is because I want to be able to look back on my misadventures when I'm older. I'm not great at keeping journals (I write in it for about a week and then it just collects dust on my nightstand), so I figured maybe blogging was the way to go. Fingers crossed.

I think what I have to say is worthy of an audience. I didn't always believe this.

So, quick, a recap:

Be vulnerable and scare yourself silly. You know that feeling you get right before you're about to do something either truly brilliant or truly stupid? Like there's a weight sitting on your heart and something is about to burst? Feel it a lot.

Be open to both tears and laughter. Trust, you'll get plenty of both.

So. Is this an appropriate time to say "new year, new me"?

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