Grace Williams, Business and Social Media Manager
“College is the greatest time in life.” “You will make amazing memories with friends.” “You can find a new identity in college.” These are all examples of advice that I heard before entering college. These words excited me greatly because I was pretty discontent and unsatisfied with how high school had gone for me and who I was during that time.
So I threw myself into NSI, meeting everyone and learning everything I possibly could about events and activities. I heard “get involved,” “eat in Sodexo,” “leave your door open when you are in your room,” “study in the library,” and more. I took these things to heart, but I took it too far.
I was afraid of not having many friends, like I did in high school. I was scared I would follow the same patterns I inhabited in high school where I did my school work, competed for speech and debate and participated in a few other mostly in-school activities but otherwise had little to do with a social life stemming from school relationships and non academic events.
So I joined almost every club, and I made a huge effort to get invited to lots of different things and spend time with lots of different people. Each week, I felt anxious if I hadn’t made weekend plans by Wednesday, worrying that I was destined to be alone. Despite my fears, pretty much every weekend I ended up with people to see and things to do. I was almost afraid to be involved in things that were outside of SNU because I would miss out on student life here.
I found myself completely exhausted because I was trying to actualize an ideal I had for college and my experience here. Furthermore, I wasn’t acting true to my nature. I have more task strengths than relational ones, and I’m right in the middle of the introversion/extraversion scale. I need to be with people, but I also need to be by myself. I enjoy hanging out with people, but I love to work with others to accomplish measurable things; I get tired of just consuming entertainment with friends. Few people understand this drive.
Recognizing these things about myself and letting go of the image that college is some kind of magical land where if you aren’t having a blast with friends each minute then you aren’t doing it right has allowed me to find contentment. I want to encourage everyone to enjoy college in the way you were made to.
Certainly, don’t stay in your comfort zone all the time, but make sure you also feel comfortable with the ways you fill your time. If you need solitary hobbies in college or to significantly commit your time to an organization or community outside of SNU, then please pursue those things and don’t feel guilty for having your door shut or never being seen at school events. Most of the time, it’s not an either/or scenario, and that is the tricky beauty of a balanced life: partially in yet also challenged at the edge of your comfort zone.