I thought college would just be a larger, more challenging version of high school, but with more parties. My expectation when arriving the first week was that I would automatically find my best friends and my place at school. With all new opportunities present on campus, I figured I would just find connections easily. Not just that, but those same friends would be the closest friends for the rest of my life.
This may sound depressing, but my first semester mostly consisted of weekly phone calls to my best friends from home. They were struggling too and we would just complain together about how much we missed our old friend group and our past summer.
Academically, school was never extremely different from what I was used to. I quickly adjusted to the notion of ‘choice time’ and figuring out how to balance out-of-class work from in-class work. I found my home in IC Square, where I have always been able to crank out my work with mumbled background voices.
The typical response and most unexpected part of college was losing a year and half to COVID-19. I am a sophomore in a senior body. The last time I was on campus was Fall 2019 — the first semester of my sophomore year. In that spring semester, I went abroad and never returned to campus until this fall. It feels like I am just picking up where I left off, halfway through sophomore year. Except now I have to graduate in eight months and start life in the real world.
One thing I always wanted to do was study abroad. I finally achieved this during my second year. That was until spring break hit and I was sent back to the States. What I thought was temporary, ending up being a tedious few years of isolation and dragging Zoom calls.
After I found a great group of friends that same year, I had a plan to live with them in a Circle Apartment after studying abroad. The pandemic, of course, flipped this plan on its head as everyone found other off-campus arrangements. I ended up moving off campus with two women I barely knew, but they ended up becoming some of my biggest supporters.
My vision of what college looked like took a long time to accomplish. Finding my place on campus wasn’t as automatic as I had imagined, but it was worth the hours of FaceTime calls to finally end up in the mental place I wanted to be.