I'm back in the Lone Star state and have conquered my first year at college. In some ways, it seems as though I just began, and in others, like the year has dragged on and on and onnnnn. Needless to say, I'm glad to be finished and have a break until I start online summer classes (I'm still asking myself why I'm doing those).
Now comes the obligatory post-freshman year list of all the things I've learned and ways I've grown!
New friends. There was a running joke at my high school that none of us knew how to make friends because we've all known each other for 10+ years. I didn't realize that it was actually true until I found myself in VA without a single friend. My first attempts to make friends were awkward and pathetic at best. I didn't understand the importance of polite chit-chat or the redundant questions Where are you from? What's your major? Why'd you pick Liberty? etc. Now, these questions are my not-so-secret weapons. I can make a friend in about five minutes, whereas it took me about five months last semester to form any kind of relationship with someone. I had some strange resistance to talking to people in my classes last semester; I don't know why. But generally, the people sitting next to you are very willing to answer your questions and ask a few of their own, and if you sit in the same spots for a day or two, voila! Instant friend. So yes, I can think of at least fifteen people off the top of my head with whom I have become friends just in this semester alone, and they come from all over the U.S.: Boston, Cedar Park, Hawaii, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Arkansas. It's great. And next semester, I'm elated to be living on the same hall with my lovely writer / geek friend M.F., as well as another girl from English class who happened to get a spot in my quad, too! IT'S GONNA BE GREAT.
New confidence. Maybe it's strange that my confidence got a boost while I was living among a sea of strangers and trying to make good first impressions on said strangers when I encountered them in the vast wilderness of experiences that is college. I think not knowing anyone at first is what gave me new confidence, actually; they didn't know anything about me or have any pre-conceived notions about my history and character. They were new to me, and I was new to them. I could be anyone I wanted, and they wouldn't know the difference! And once I stopped caring about impressing people or worrying about whether or not they liked me, I was so much happier. Which is not to say I let myself go or whatever, but I didn't feel the need to present a version of myself that I thought people would like best. I've always hated the movement to "Be yourself!", but I have to admit, sometimes it does relieve a lot of your daily stress. Usually if you try to impress someone and be the person you think they want you to be, they don't come running back. In my experience.
Oh, and losing 10 pounds is a good confidence-booster, too :)
New experience living with roomies. Living with someone day in and day out can be a challenge. Particularly when you've had your own room for 18 years and been the only child at home for 4 - 5. Now, I've always been an introvert, but when you come home after a long day of classes only to find another person chilling in your room, it can be hard to cope with.
Me and C.H. at Appomattox
Now, both of my roomies were awesome, and I wouldn't trade my semesters with them, but being forced (that sounds bad, but it's true) to live with someone you don't know really stretches you as a person. C.R. and I were both pretty quiet, which was rather nice because I could come home and rest. But C.H. was talkative and friendly, which gained me some new friends and the chance to socialize in a way I hadn't before. I still valued my weekends (and Spring Break) alone because I could
jam to my music and do whatever I wanted study. But when classes rolled around again, I was always glad to see said roomies again. Looking forward to experiencing life with T.T. next semester!
New memories. Almost fainting in Developmental Psych and riding to the health center in a police car. Trying to get on a bus through the wrong entrance and getting squashed in the
LOOK AT ALL THE SNOW
doors. Eating Italian food with M.F. and talking for three hours. Excess amounts of snow. Visiting Appomattox with C.H. Locking myself out of my room and having to call campus police to unlock it for me. Looking at Jupiter, Venus, Castor, Pollux, and the moon through telescopes at Liberty's observatory. Getting stranded at the airport. Skipping class to watch movies at the dollar theater. Listening to professors awkwardly stumble through a lecture on sex. Watching lacrosse games at 10 p.m. Walking all the way to the cafeteria only to realize my student i.d. was back at my dorm. Infiltrating South Tower to deliver a package to M.F. It's been a very memorable first year, that's for sure! Mishaps, mistakes, and magical moments alike, Liberty has definitely provided me with a wealth of opportunities to grow and change, and I look forward to continuing the journey next year.
So what's next? Well, as I'm sure you all know by now, I'm headed to Germany next month to meet my niece Mattie for the first time. Then I start my aforementioned summer classes and continue writing (do I ever stop?). The Rat Race grows ever larger; it now clocks in at nearly 1500 pages. B3 is a work in slow progress. I'll hopefully finish learning to drive. Aaaaand that's pretty much it! I'm probably forgetting something important. Oh well.
Ciao for now, lovely people! Don't do stupid things.