I promised that I would write some posts for you while I’m in college, and college classes officially start this next week for me, so I thought now would be a good time to tell you all how my integration this first weekend has been so far, and my observations.
Many people come to college full of possibility, while others are full of confusion, and some are just there because that’s what you’re supposed to do, or because that’s the ticket to ‘freedom’, this elusive concept we chase. Freedom means different things to different people. To some, freedom is living in my country. To the country’s adolescent habitants… Not so much. To my generation, freedom is to escape this ideal of ourselves that our parents have tried so hard to force us, or at least influence us to be. For some of my future fellow classmates, this is the releasing of a very strong dam, and the water in that dam holds many questionable desires, and experiences they have yet to be given the permission to explore. Depending on the person, this opportunity can be good and bad, it depends on the person experiencing it, and the people who may judge it. Some people may accompany their high school friends to the college that I’m attending this year, and they’ll feel comfortable. They know people, maybe a lot of people. To them, this may feel like an unencumbered version of high school where the childhood dream comes true– to basically live next to all of your closest friends. There is nothing wrong with a safety net, or something comfortable, but I feel like this is a protective bubble around their college experience. To stay in the role that we’ve become accustomed to playing is an easy task. We’ve identified with that role. Some may be the high school cheerleaders, jocks, hipsters, cool people, nerds, or the alternative styled people. Regardless of our role, in college, there are so many people that used to occupy that same role, but in their own little world. Your role is no longer something that places you on this pedestal for adoration, but rather serves as a common ground between you and the others who used to share that path, or still do. In college, there is but one task that seems to be completed by the end. It’s not really a task even, but maybe a process that happens to few, or to many. It’s this grand experiment that takes away all boundaries (legal boundaries not included of course, but even then there are temptations for some). Within this experience is that process I was referring to, and it may be finding yourself. It doesn’t matter to anyone if you we’re popular in high school, there’s no way to be the ‘most popular one’ among thousands. To deviate from our role, but remain true to ourselves is a difficult task. I can only imagine how hard it is to shed this identity that you’ve had for 4 years of high school, only to have a clean slate in college.
My experience was different in high school. I’ve been homeschooled most of my life, public schooled for some of my beginning years, and then halfway through high school I went to the community college in my area for classes instead, because I was able to. I don’t have high school friends that I’m following, or who are following me, to college. I barely know a soul here, other than those who I’ve had to reach out to. So far, I can spot those in a crowd who have known each other for a long time, and who are not deviating from their ‘squad’ and I can’t help but think they’re missing this interesting part of the college experience. It’s intimidating to go to a place where you have no friends, and you have to show others who you are. Most people don’t make rude side comments to their new acquaintances about somebody else in the room. Those are habits that yes, some people have life long and it doesn’t matter their schooling or circumstance, but it baffles me that I’ve seen how little tact most of these groups of friends have.
I recognize that there are bullies in every walk of life, and in every circumstance, but it’s just a shame to me that these new young adults are treating strangers with such disrespect because they are coddled by the comfort of accompanying their peers into this intimidating experience.