I hesitated. Why is she asking me this? I thought. I had just finished an episode of my favorite Netflix show, and I was not in the mood to engage in a potentially humiliating conversation about why I didn’t have anything better to do with my time. To avoid embarrassing myself, I gave her a coy smile and said, “Yeah.” In reality, I was afraid to admit that I had not made any friends in the two months since arriving at college.
Unlike many college freshmen, I kicked off my college experience with anxiety and apprehension. Going to an unfamiliar school where I knew no one added to my unease. I was entirely out of my element. As a result, my introverted tendencies forced me into a bubble. Anxious and afraid at the idea of leaving my comfort zone, I spent the majority of my first year holed up in my room and only found comfort in the weekly calls I had with my best friend from high school.
Why Don’t You Transfer?
“Why don’t you transfer colleges?” My friend suggested on one of these calls. “You obviously hate the place that you are at right now, so why don’t you transfer here?”
I didn’t know what to think. The idea of transferring to a different college hadn’t crossed my mind before, and I wasn’t sure if my parents would like the idea.
“I don’t know….” I replied hesitantly. “I’ll have to think about it.” After hanging up the phone, I sat with the idea and quickly became enamored with the prospect of a change in environment. That same day, I excitedly filled out an application to my friend’s school and began making plans for the future.
However, my dreams of transferring to a different college came crashing down when I found out that I didn’t have the funds to pay for this new school. Angry and frustrated, I spent the remainder of my freshman year in a rut.
My Sophomore Year
The summer months passed, and my mindset about the situation didn’t change. I resentfully trudged into my sophomore year of college in a pattern of self-pity and frustration. Needing a distraction from the emptiness I felt, I channeled all of my energy into schoolwork and focused on maintaining good grades. However, this tactic did nothing to cure my fear of missing out. I knew that inside melancholy had me wrapped around its finger and I was too drained to fight it.
After a while, a different type of exhaustion settled over me; however, I couldn’t quite place the feeling. While scrolling through Instagram on a particularly bad day, I noticed that my new roommate had posted several pictures of her and some of her new friends. The envy hit me like a ton of bricks. What had I even accomplished during my time here? I realized the exhaustion I felt was an accumulation of pent-up resentment and anger I needed to let go to experience growth. I knew changes were needed.
My new initiative found me wanting more for myself than the corner I intentionally backed myself into. As a result, I started challenging myself to do things that made me uncomfortable. One day, I noticed that a writer’s position had opened at the school newspaper. Should I apply for this job? I wondered. At the time, I wasn’t very confident in my writing abilities and was sure that I would get rejected on the spot. Remembering my new resolve, I shook off my doubts and turned in my application. Even if I don’t get the job, I can say I tried something new.
A few weeks later, I got the job offer, which turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences I ever received. Looking back, I realized getting the job was both a baby step towards healing and a steppingstone towards regaining the confidence I had lost since first arriving at college.
Since then, I have grown so much from being the anxious freshman who waited for opportunities to come rather than seizing them first. My experience always reminds me of something a good friend told me: the future is a scary place to venture off to, but how would we even know without taking the first step? Although I still don’t have the group of friends I desperately wished for initially, I am a much happier person and have learned to appreciate all the little blessings I have. Even though I still get lonely from time to time, I know that I am not truly alone because God is always by my side.
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Samantha Wawondatu writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2022, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.