It’s true. I don’t understand college at all.
I used to think that I did, but the way I started my college career really should have warned me. I was eighteen when I decided to take a semester off to figure out what I wanted to do – as if that kind of knowledge would magically reveal itself in the span of four short months. It didn’t. What ended up happening was that I panicked about not having started college right away like everyone else I knew, which led to me making the safest, easiest school decision I could. For two years, I attended a small state school about an hour away from my parents, and for most of my time there, I was miserable.
My mom always used to tell me that she was certain I’d flourish in a college environment. “There’s so much structure! You belong in academia,” she’d say, sounding so certain. I guess I believed it.
I’m not so sure I believe it anymore.
I had enjoyed elementary and middle school; high school was hellish, but then, wasn’t it hellish for everyone? College would be better: more people, more challenges, more freedom. More interesting classes. Coming from a small high school and a strict home environment, these things were a big deal.
But paired with these great things were a lot of awful things: trying to make friends as an introvert terrified of crowds, dealing with a financial services department that didn’t care to explain to me what I was getting into with student loans (and then trying to scrounge up money for classes when aid inevitably ran out each semester), trying to balance work with class loads, and dealing with a terribly toxic, codependent relationship.
I didn’t know what questions to ask or where to ask them. I didn’t even know how to find out where I could ask the questions I needed answered. Getting help was an alien concept to me, though I made several half-assed attempts. I floundered. And then I broke down and gave up.
Gosh, this story is pathetic so far. More tomorrow.