If you’ve followed my story of college since the very beginning, you’ll know that after moving into my dream city, I unexpectedly transferred after one semester. The level of confusion and disappointment I felt when I realized that place wasn’t for me was enormous. I lost a sense of who I was and what I wanted because it was so hard to accept that my plan was changing.
I transferred to a whole new university that I was familiar with from touring senior year of high school. I was ecstatic. I was ready for a campus (with grass!), a real dining hall and traditional college dorms. I was just ready for a typical college experience. It tremendously helped that my best friend from high school was a student there, ready to introduce me to her circle of friends and that she would be living right across the hall from me. The campus was beautiful and in the “middle of nowhere” which was what I wanted – to be away from the chaos. Transferring was what I needed, and to this day, I'll keep telling everyone how much it taught me.
After a semester at this new school, I went into summer feeling the best I had about college. I loved my major, loved writing for the newspaper and Odyssey and I had a solid group of friends that I was going to be living with in four short months that I talked to every day. I was finally looking forward to college.
Flash forward to August and it’s two weeks before move-in day. Imagine me opening my phone and learning that my three friends were transferring to different colleges, two of them being my suitemates who I was supposed to be living with in a matter of weeks. And just like that, all of the excitement about returning to school was drained from my body.
For those of you in high school, you’ll understand how friendships work in college. In high school, you had your core group of friends and acquaintances in each class. In college, you also have your core group and acquaintances in classes. Well, my core group was broken apart and I felt like all I had were 50-minute friendships that ended at the conclusion of class. Similar to “Hey, same time next week?” friendships. I felt like I had just transferred again and I was struggling to make one good friend. It was like I was back to square one, knowing not a soul. I felt like no one was there for me, so I resorted to my room quite often. I would go to the gym alone and then go back to my room. Once again, for the second time now, I felt out of place and alone.
This feeling hasn’t gone away, either. Sure, I do have some friends in each class. I know people's names and they know mine and we talk in different classes. I don’t know about anyone else, but the people I talk to in class are simply “friends from English” or “friends from math.” People go about their day and I won’t see them until the next time I’m in that class. That’s just how college operates for me. I have yet to find people who are more than just acquaintances. It’s really difficult to when you feel like no one is looking for good friends, and only a simple hello.
So where does that leave me now? I don’t know. The more time I spent on my own last semester, the more I thought that I should be somewhere else, even though that means starting over and making new friends. The thought of meeting new people and having things to do on and off campus doesn’t scare me as much as I thought. I think it’s because the thought of enjoying myself in a place overpowers the thought of being the new kid again.
There isn’t a conclusion to this story because I don't know how it's finished. For anyone who feels out of place, lost or just alone, I hope this story made you realize that you are not the only one. I have no idea where I’m going after this semester or what this semester will bring, but I hope you’ll stick around to find out.
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” -David Bowie
Lead Image Credit: Javier Garcia via Unsplash