On May 5th, ya girl completed her freshman year of college. In retrospect, it's not a very big deal, but in my head, it's a HUGE deal. I've been homeschooled since the seventh grade so I never went to "real" high school although I did attend a high school prom, but that's a different story for a different time. This means I have never had to learn how to study for things, I hadn't had to do actual homework in upwards of seven years, and it had been a long time since I was forced to put myself out in the world and intentionally pursue new friendships. Much like this blog, I had no clue what I was doing or how to do it.
All this to say I didn't know what to expect when I went to college. I knew I was going to inevitably walk away with knowledge and experiences that I didn't have before, but I had no way of knowing what those things were going to be. I should probably note that I'm no expert on college after one year, in case that's what it sounds like.* In some ways, I'm just as lost as I was before. However, while I went through a lot of personal change and experienced things very specific to me, I was able to generalize a few things that I felt could be helpful to all people in college/about to go to college.
I stopped wearing makeup and it wasn't a big deal
[For all my dudes out there, if you don't wear makeup, replace "wearing makeup" with something you do every morning like "shave" or "spray on an obscene amount of cologne that somehow follows you around in an impenetrable cloud all day," because truthfully I'm not sure how you guys do that.]
I have never been one of those people that spends more than twenty minutes on my face on a regular day. Some people are just blessed with a face that doesn't need much work in the morning. A majority of the time, I am not one of those people. I am just very lazy and I like sleep. Sometimes when I have reached the height of boredom, I'll hit up the Instagram explore page and watch those hypnotic makeup videos but never in my life have I attempted them. Bottom line: I wasn't spending a whole lot of time on makeup to begin with, but I still put it on every day. I was in a new place and I didn't have friends and I was trying to put my best foot--or rather, face--forward. Near the end of the year, however, I was taking an 8 am class (10/10 WOULD NOT RECOMMEND), I was getting pretty tired of my self-set standard of having to look top notch every day, and I was going to sleep at ridiculous hours of the night to the point where even an extra twenty minutes of sleep made all the difference. So I stopped wearing makeup.
It took some getting used to. I was self conscious around people that didn't know me and felt like I looked tired all the time (probably because I was tired all the time), but after a little while I started to adjust. I liked how easy it was to get ready in the morning and I could rub my eyes and face all I wanted without worrying about smudges, which may sound dumb but it's one of those things that you don't know the true power of until you possess it (like when TiVo first came out). The craziest thing about it all was that no one commented on it. I didn't necessarily expect any applause for my bravery or any Burn Book entries about the visibility of my stress pimples, but I guess I didn't realize it wouldn't cause any major rifts in my daily life. Maybe it was irrational of me to think that the space time continuum would shift once I stopped wearing makeup, but I took comfort in the fact that whether I decided to stop wearing makeup or start wearing makeup, it had no bearing on the way people treated me. Because, truth be told, no one cares. As much as we crave the thought that everyone around us pays extra special attention to the way we look and the decisions we make in regards to it, the only people that really care are us. So either wear makeup or don't (or shave your face or don't because I didn't forget the dudes!!!), but don't let other people's opinions dictate that decision.
I skipped a class to take a nap and I didn't get expelled
I am probably the biggest school nerd of the century. Just to clarify, this does not mean that I am the smartest person in class or that I ace all my quizzes or that I even know what's going on in class most of the time. What this actually means is that I always do my reading for class for fear of getting asked a question that I am unable to answer, my world caves in at the thought of a professor not liking me, and I get crippling anxiety when I think about skipping or missing a class. I am terrified at the thought of the professor going over vital information for the next test or paper during the one class I decide to skip, so I only skipped a class twice and both times were to either get more sleep or go take a nap. Each time, something miraculous happened: nothing. I was able to get notes from someone in class and the professor surprisingly did not hate me forever and ever until the end of time. I passed both classes and life resumed as normal. I will still continue to attend every class I possibly can and will probably never skip a class just for kicks, but it was crucial for me to learn that skipping a class does not equal the death of your academic career.
Some people didn't like me and my world didn't fall apart
I have always been that person that just has to be liked. I will absolutely lose sleep over a person if I learn that they don't like me. Usually that ends up making it worse because then I try that much harder to make them like me, which typically results in me acting like a horribly desperate version of myself and them disliking me even more. This is all amplified when I am stuck in a new environment surrounded by people I don't know that I am expected to befriend (A.K.A college). I encountered some people this year that just so happened to not enjoy my existence very much. They were not mean or aggressive towards me directly, but it was pretty blatant that I was not liked. I was distraught over this for a couple days, but after talking about it with people who were much wiser and less irrational than me it was clear that I was being ridiculous. These were not people I saw every day or talked to every day and we ran in pretty different circles. And even if that weren't true, these were not people that I needed to like me. I have rad friends that I know like me, and it's selfish of me to not appreciate that in itself. Some people are going to like you and that's obviously okay, but some people are not going to like you and that is also okay.
For the most part, none of what is mentioned above is all that revolutionary and you could very well be rolling your eyes at the generic nature of everything I just said. But it's stuff that I feel could be applicable to not just college life, but life in general. You get to decide how you want to look, or whether or not you attend certain events, or if you're going to let the opinions of others rule your life. We're able to make those decisions for ourselves and that dictates the way we live, which I think is pretty dope. So I dunno. Spend two hours getting ready in the morning or spend two minutes. Make it a mission to be friends with everyone or make it a mission to be content with people that aren't a fan of you. It doesn't really matter as long as it's what you want. There was never a time I looked back on my morning and thought man, I wish I had sacrificed that extra twenty minutes of sleep so my skin could look more even. There was never a time I woke up from a nap and thought wow that wasn't refreshing or restful at all. So, really, there's no point in not doing something if it's something you really want to do. That's the most important thing that I learned: do what you want because if you don't, you'll regret it.**
*I'm not really an expert on anything in life, to be honest. Except maybe how to respond to text messages after an impossibly long amount of time because I'm really good at that.
**I know that sounds super cheesy and like you could've found that advice on any piece of clothing in Forever 21, but that's what I have for you today. Kindly deal with it.
me and my college pals demonstrating the importance of intentional community and also naps