What It Feels Like To Wake Up And Realize You’re Happy In College

Mapuana Andrade Photo
When do you know you made the right decision?

I go to college in Nevada and this past weekend I took a trip to Lake Tahoe with my best friend/roommate. Around 8:30 a.m., I woke up to a shoreline view of South Lake, along with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that felt…different. My heart was beating as calmly and slow as the current of the water and my mind mirrored the clearest blue sky. Pushing the white sheets back, I sat up and looked out the window right beside my bed, and I realized what this feeling was. This was the first morning that I knew, while being 3,000 miles from Maui, I felt like I was home.

Unfortunately, not even all the college guidebooks, Welcome-Week pamphlets, or the number potential classmates you friend on Facebook, can prepare you for the first step onto your college campus.

You enter your bare dorm room, palms shaking, with nothing but the headboard and mattress to call your own, and suddenly, you are a little more okay with being “that kid” from your hometown, that never leaves, and spends the rest of their lives working on their rap album.

Do you ever wonder what your first year of college will be like? Okay, now take that idea and imagine the opposite of it. That’s what college is, unpredictable and probably the best and worst types of “oh shits” you will ever experience. But, when your day has more of the good “oh shits” mixed in, that’s when you can stop calling your mom and demanding a plane ticket home.

  • When you can’t help the smile that creeps up your face when people ask you how school is going.
  • When you know your mental breakdowns are going to be fixed with your roommate bringing you ice cream.
  • When showers aren’t used for silently crying, but for mentally trying on outfits to wear for the night.
  • When class becomes bearable because you sit two seats from that boy who doesn’t know he’s your boyfriend yet.
  • When you’re out and you accidentally say you want to go “home”, but you mean your dorm.
  • When spontaneous crying sessions turn into spontaneous dancing sessions on top of your desk, and One Direction playing too loud to not get in trouble by your R.A.
  • When you and your roommate get home at 3:00 a.m. and spend an hour laying in bed, laughing at your dumb snapchats.
  • When your mom calls and tells you she “knew you would love it”, and you refuse to let her believe you were doubtful in the beginning.
  • When you are counting down the clock of that last Friday lecture because you are five minutes from weekend freedom!
  • When the weekdays start to get as fun as the weekend because the squad can’t go a day without seeing each other (the struggle of living in different dorms).
  • When you’re moody and you have to avoid public places on campus because you know you’re going to see a friendly face.
  • When “I Love College”, by Asher Roth suddenly becomes a song written about your life.

I can’t speak for every college student, there are still those that think the dining hall is a good place to let everyone know they hate their school. But, for those lucky ones who find the moment that catches their breath and makes them wonder why they ever doubted their choice, you’re never going to forget that feeling.


Mapuana Andrade Photo

Originally an article published for the Odyssey.