The biggest concern I had when starting college was my ability to maintain my somewhat unusual personality. Never was I a proponent of staying up all night, rising with the noon sun, or socializing every minute of everyday. As a self-proclaimed introvert living in a single room, I feared I would not posses the drive or motivation to throw myself into the quintessential college experience. While my friends were constantly expressing their excitement for house parties, late-night Chipotle runs, and mid-afternoon walks to the dining hall for breakfast, I felt apprehensive and anxious I would not find a place amongst my peers. My first week at Ithaca was an adjustment. At first, I was content with eating an early dinner by myself or with one other person, retreating to my room as early as 7 pm, and awaking to an empty room mere hours after the majority of my friends fell asleep. Though I tried very hard to carry over the schedule I had at home to school, I slowly began to resent my personality and my previous lifestyle.
My once cozy dorm started to mock me as I began returning to it earlier and earlier. Increasingly, I felt as though I was missing out on critical bonding experiences with my new friends. It finally took one good cry and deep reflection for me to realize I needed to carve out a new schedule for myself—a schedule which still allowed me to maintain my personality while adjusting to a more active and social environment. As a stubborn person, I resolved to push past my subconscious thoughts urging me to retire to the comfort and safety of my single oasis. Soon I found myself laughing in a friend’s dorm until 7:45; I found myself walking back from a club meeting at 8. While for some these adjustments might seem trivial, for me, they were a large jump from my previously rigid routine. This slow act of acclimation led to a multitude of small discoveries. I discovered I am stronger than I think—the transition I once thought was overpowering and difficult started to become a little bit easier. I discovered not everyone operates on the stereotypical college schedule—many people I met followed similar sleep and relaxation patterns as me. Lastly, I discovered my new friends were a lot more understanding then I knew people could be—never once did they question or judge me when I excused myself from their social gatherings in favor of alone time. While the transition is not over, I have proven I am willing and capable of making the changes needed to thrive academically and socially at Ithaca.