A Year of Many Things
My Life Isn’t As Depressing As I Sometimes Make it Sound.
So this might be a little ranty but I just wanted to talk about my first year of college for a bit.
As I said…first year of college. A year of strange and new experiences and yet, only the beginning into a journey I’m sure to remember forever.
To be frank, the beginning of this year sucked. And I mean royally sucked, never-been-this-alone-and-depressed-since-middle-school sucked. My roommate was the only person I talked to for about a week until she had her own friends to hang out with. Then not soon after Halloween she moved out. She was hardly in our room to begin with, but still she officially moved out after Halloween.
While she, like so many, was hanging out with friends and eating at the dining hall, I was awkwardly nodding hello’s to people in my hallway, not sure if I was friends with them or they were just saying hi to be friendly. Eventually they kinda stopped talking to me as well. That was fine, most of them annoy me and aren’t typically the people I associate myself with.
Then again, any people was better than no people. But after a while it became no people anyway.
I had one kind-of friend, well, we were lab partners and both liked The Avengers and STAR WARS so we were pretty chill. But I didn’t get to know S as a friend, outside of lab, until mid-October, just about. The time before that happened was a weird time.
Every lonely weekend was something different.
One week I’d be binge watching Merlin, and then Doctor Who the next. There was also a time I got really obsessed with the actor who portrayed Oliver Wood from Harry Potter and spent way too long watching videos of his small folk/rock band in Scotland and visualizing myself studying abroad in that magical country .
Having the impossibly many classes as a Zoology major, and now working on an English minor, I will never have the time for studying abroad, to my dismay.
Then after almost downloading his album, the week changed and I watched John Oliver videos instead. [I then dove into a black hole of YouTube of which I’m still trapped in, but that’s a whole other discussion]
But the majority of those weeks of solitude, mind you I could have gone outside and made friends but I wasn’t feeling it, came my complete immersion into the play Hamlet. I first watched David Tennant’s portrayal with The Royal Shakespeare Company’s of Hamlet earlier that year, so it really became my favorite play because of David Tennant (aka. the Tenth Doctor).
So I watched and re-watched Hamlet for many days. Then I read and re-read the play for many more.
For the entirety of three weekends and some lazy weekdays I spent that time slowly becoming more and more like Hamlet. I have this strange habit where as I read a book, my brain morphs into thinking its the narrative’s voice of that said book. Usually I end up just feeling like a badass all the time from reading thrilling fantasy novels since forever, but this new journey was a bit…darker.
Did I think about suicide much like Hamlet? No. Did I still constantly re-read that same famous monologue over and over again? Hell Yes. And yet, sadly enough I still can’t recite it by memory.
I just became so immersed in this character’s story and struggles that I found myself staring into the darkness, very much awake and aware of the night around me.
Many times I questioned why I was there. Why I came six or so hours north, away from family and friends to pursue a major I wasn’t even sure I wanted to study.
Similar to most introductory courses for aspiring music majors, from the beginning, biology related majors enroll students in courses that are meant to weed the “weak” out. Weak as in, not really cut out or passionate enough for such difficult subjects, ironically music and biology of all things are being compared to one another.
So like many in my situation with long lab reports and hard content, I was often very frustrated with my life decisions. I’ll probably still have my doubts on my major up until the day I graduate in three years…(hopefully just three).
Then there was the weekend I went back home and bummed a ride with my high school band buddies to help out at their competition. Immediately at my return to Maine I spent the good of two or so weeks in a dark cloud of nostalgia. But like the ever resilient robin, most adaptable to new situations once in them, I sucked it up and got over it. Yeah, I wish I took band in my first year of college, heck I still won’t be able to in my second year due to scheduling, but its still a passion I will pursue in the future. I have time, and whining and wallowing wont do anything.
And much like Hamlet I embraced my crazy and didn’t care if my neighbors in the hallway of which I live judged me. I was crazy and all the best people are, so if I found friends that accepted that I’d be alright with my life here. But unlike Hamlet, I didn’t end up in a dual in which I was stabbed with a poisoned blade and found an early demise. At least not yet, fingers crossed!
No I did something far more terrifying. I made friends.
That’s about the time of mid-October, when stuff seemed to finally turn around. Or at the very least it got a lot less lonely…and weird. Me alone for too long got really weird…I got really weird.
I was invited by my lab partner S to a hockey game for the first time. At first, her friends were a bit confused as to who this strange, quiet girl was that showed up in their group while in line. But after three periods of yelling profanities at the opposing hockey team and chilling in their room until 2 am. eating pizza, we became more comfortable around each other.
The next week was the true test with S’s friends, however. She had gone home for that weekend but all the same made sure I had her friend Kr’s number so I could hang out with them again. Those games gave birth to several inside jokes that still come up almost on the daily with my friends.
This might be against the point of having inside jokes, but I thought I’d try to list off my favorites.
Well, the first one isn’t really an inside joke but actually a story.
So Kr is from Maine but has a great love for Canada. So much in fact that she often times sounds very Canadian. She also speaks French very well and has a wonderful understanding of hockey. So, being new to this friend group, I was unaware of the fact that she was from Maine. In fact, I was completely convinced she was Canadian. And when I found out she wasn’t, I was in utter surprise.
“Wait, you’re not Canadian?”
“No, I’m from Maine.” -Kr
“Oh…I could have sworn you were Canadian…”
“Oh my god! You thought I was Canadian?!”-Kr (in utter delight, I might add)
“Well, yeah. You love hockey and say sorry constantly. So I just assumed…” (literally though, she says “sorry” after we point out how she says “sorry” too much. Its great.)
“OH MY GOD SHE THOUGHT I WAS CANADIAN! LET’S KEEP HER FOREVER!” -Kr
Next came a discussion with another friend of ours, K, who is from Maryland. No one seemed to agree as to where Maryland was located. Kr said it was in the South while K said it was a place in the middle, neither North nor South but a kind of middle ground. They looked to me for a third opinion, to which I replied with probably the best and most surprising one-liner I’ve ever made in my entire life.
“So what do you consider Maryland to be?” -Kr (or K, I can’t recall exactly)
“Um…well, I’ve never really considered Maryland, so…”
(ecstatic laughter from Kr and a face from K)
“We are so keeping you!” -Kr
I then replied quickly that I thought of Maryland as between the North and South, so not quite the South as K had said. She knew my statement was in good faith, just a joke and not a stab at her homeland. (I’m talking like Maryland is on another world or something, though some might think so).
Next came my favorite inside joke, but now I realize this is the only inside joke I’ve mentioned thus far. All the ones previous are just stories. Whatever.
Kr and K were talking across from me, on one of the beds, about languages. French mostly but then Spanish came up, to which Kr started listing off what she could say in Spanish. One particular phrase sounded strikingly similar to Hakuna Matata, a saying from the Lion King if you live under a rock or had a sad and deprived childhood.
I was confused as to why Kr would randomly say this phrase when a second ago they had speaking Spanish or French or whatever, so I questioned her about it.
Kr and K looked at me like I had three heads and I realized that was not what she said. Quickly I shrugged and said awkwardly in my defense,
“I don’t speak Spanish…”
This time our laughter lasted for a good ten minutes and ended with us holding our stomachs and crying from the absurdity of what I said. Occasionally K or Kr would gasp “Hakuna Matata” and send us into renewed fits of laughter. That had been the first time I’d laugh-cried since seeing my two best friends sometime at the end of the summer. If saying stupid stuff didn’t cement friendships, I don’t know what does.
After S was caught up with our weekend’s shenanigans, weekend hockey games and staying up until 2 am. eating pizza became a routine. As the semester went on it was usually the only inspiration to get through the week of hard classes. “Just make it to Friday, there’s a hockey game. Just make it to Friday…”
Once I had friends and became comfortable with the place in which I lived, I got used to the routine and began to like it in Maine. Sure, I missed my friends back home and my family and my pets, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. (I wouldn’t like me as a human who didn’t feel that way).
Now I’m two weeks away from completing my first year of college. Never gone to a party and hardly stepped foot anywhere on campus besides the same paths I take to my classes everyday. But hey, I have all of the next three years, at least, to do stuff like that. This year was to establish a place here, a presence and personality that suited me, in which I could feel comfortable being for a while.
Friends back home haven’t seen me grow to be more confident and slightly more independent. Being back home I reintroduce myself with a better, or more open, sense of humor and a calm I’ve never had before. Its gonna be a great time being home in the summer. But I will surely be reminiscent of the independence that I had here in my dorm in Maine. I’ll miss that and going to have dinner and class everyday with the friends I’ve made. But next year I’ll be rooming with S and right down the hall from Kr and her roommate C.
Next year will be great.
This year was great.
Life is great.
Meeting the friends I have now didn’t make me happy again. Sure, it did indeed help with my loneliness, but I wasn’t always lonely. I learned in those months that being alone is ok and I got the chance to reintroduce myself to, well, myself. I got to know aspects of my personality I had yet to unlock.
It has its ups and its downs, doubts and depression. Goods and bads…but then there are those times where I can reflect on what I’ve experience, and feel…calm. A quiet and joyful peace of being comfortable with who I am and accept myself as an ever-changing and growing person.
If I stayed the same not only would I be an extremely sad and boring person, to me and to others, but I wouldn’t truly be alive. I’d be a shade of the past that forever walks in forgotten shadows, holding on to what has happened and feed on nostalgia and regret. But nay, I am not such a shade. I am a person who will grow and change countless times in my lifetime.
I may not always be ok or comfortable with all the changes made in my life, but I can adapt. At the beginning of this year I wasn’t happy here in a new place, away from a life I knew for 18+ years. And now I’m here, adapted to my new life, and bright-eyed and hopeful for what will happen in the years to come.
Change may not always seem easy to accept. But I will forever be adapting. Molding my soul into something more and more complex as the universe spins about me.