a clean slate: one month into college

12:00:00 AM

(Note: I intend to have some pictures up later, but for now, I don't have a way to edit them the way I wish to and so this is just a large chunk of text. Also, at the time I drafted this, it was one month in, but now it's two months!)

It's funny how quickly things can change. It's been about a month since I moved in, and everything already feels different. It's not even about being away from home and from my family. It's not even necessarily the work load, although there's plenty of that and I'm still adjusting. More than anything, the past few weeks have been huge growing experiences for me, and I have a completely different outlook on life.

When I started college, I had both high and low expectations--high because I was expecting it to be great and wonderful and so much better than high school but low because it wouldn't have taken much to have been better than high/middle school. My greatest fear and worry was making new friends. I didn't have many friends in high school, and I didn't really have a core circle of friends I could rely on. I often felt lonely and was often alone. I started book blogging and continued to have a presence online because online was where I made friends. I connected with bookish people, people who could understand me. But as close as you can get to someone online (one of my best friends was someone I met online), it's not the same as having a friend in real life, someone you can go to when you need a hug, someone who knows the people you know.

It turns out, I wasn't alone in this worry and I didn't need to worry so much. My outlook going into college was so different from my outlook going into high school and throughout high school. Instead of hiding away in my room and allowing myself to be alone, I made myself go out of my comfort zone and talk to people. I made myself go to different events and to go hang out in areas I knew other people hung out in. Sure, the first week was really tough. I felt exhausted by all the social interaction, and I was struggling to find my place. It seemed as though everyone else around me either already knew people or had already made new friends.

But I need not have worried. Pretty soon, I found myself making new friends and finding my group. For once, I have many friends who understand me and whom I don't have to pretend to be someone else with. I had one best friend in high school, and she was one of the only people who supported me through anything and who loved the real me. Suddenly, I have many of those friends. I was often the one to take the first step, to reach out and invite someone to hang out with me and someone else, to text someone and see if they wanted to grab lunch or dinner together, to ask if someone wanted to go to take the subway with me. Because I was starting new, I didn't try to be someone else. College can be a clean slate. I told myself I wouldn't be someone I wasn't just to make friends because I had been there, done that, and I had been miserable.

I stopped blogging and wasn't really focused on reading and writing anymore. I do plan to get back into it because I love all of those things, but for the first month, I was really focused on my social life and with hanging out with other people. In high school, blogging and books were an escape. They afforded me a community and a group of friends and supporters when I didn't really have many "in real life." But now, I don't feel as though I need to rely on them as much anymore. Now, it's less about reliance and need and more about passion and want. Sure, I was passionate about books before, but I guess I had a different type of connection then.

The difference? I am genuinely so much happier now. Happiness and self-doubt is something I've been struggling with for much of my life, but for once, happiness isn't something that I find myself obsessing over and making an active effort towards every day. I generally feel pretty happy. Sure, there are still ups and downs, but it's not even close to what it was like before. After the first week, I didn't really feel the need to "choose happy" every day because I already felt content and happy. I think this has been the biggest change. I'm still very self-critical and am still struggling with self-doubt, but the happiness part of it is so different. I'm in a much better place now, and beyond that, I'm much more open about talking about my struggles. I never would have thought about how different things would be.

I'm still figuring out a way to balance everything I want to do, and even though I'm still very good at stressing myself out, it's been an overall positive experience. The work load is crazy, but I think it only feels so bad because my time management isn't the greatest, and I kind of put things off until the last minute for the first month. I'm going to try to approach my school work differently this month and see how it goes. I also want to make sure I take more time for myself. Going to college in NYC is one of the greatest experiences, but sometimes, we all need time away from the rush. But I couldn't be happier with where I am right now. Before getting here, I was so nervous about making new friends, and I wasn't sure if I made the right decision regarding which college to attend. Now, I can't imagine being anywhere else.

At the end of this semester, I'll be writing a post about tips for your first semester of college, so if you're interested in that, be on the lookout. I also have some posts exploring other things I've learned/experienced during my first few weeks of college coming up. Hope you'll stick around!

Now Playing: same old love // selena gomez

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