So I am watching all of the facebook statuses about parents taking their kids off to school, and I can't help but think about the time that I went off to school for the first time which crazy to think was 9 years ago. WOW! Tanner told my cousin Tyler that he will never forget the moment that you are all moved in, everything is done, and you just lay down on your bed. Tanner described it as one of the best moments knowing he was officially in college, and almost just felt free. I can totally see how one would feel that way. Let me explain my side for those that might not feel that way and feel that you are alone because I never had felt more alone in those moments.
The adventurous spirit that I have now didn't exist then. My love of the mountains wasn't non existent and I went to college in the mountains (Appalachian State). I'm so sad about all of the fun times that I missed while I was there, but I was in such a bad state that I didn't once go out on the parkway. I didn't once go skiing. Uh-so sad! Tanner always says "What if we had both went to App? That would have been fun to go to undergrad together!" and I quickly tell him that we would not have connected the way that we did because I was entirely different and in a bad place. If I was the person I am today, my mom would probably be begging me to come home from New York City, California or Colorado! hahaha!
When I moved into App, I'll never forget the day either. My entire family came up and helped me move in but mine was different because I was a cheerleader. No one else was moving in. I had to be there a week early so that we could have practices. I was dating someone at the time, and he would be going back to our hometown. It was around 6pm when they drove off after moving me in. I didn't have anything to do until the next morning when I had cheerleading practice, and I didn't feel close enough to the girls on the team at the time to reach out to any of them that night. I didn't have a TV and the dorms were empty. Everything was set up and organized perfectly so there was nothing to clean. Social media wasn't what it is today although it did exist (I had JUST gotten facebook because at the time that was only for college kids and I was officially in college #HOLLA). I didn't have a car because I was a freshmen (I ended up getting one my second semester so that I could come home more). I'm not trying to be dramatic, but this was also in the HEAT of anorexia so of course I wasn't going to eat any of the food that was left for me either which causes you to be mentally really bad off.
I'll never forget the moment that I just sat on my bed and cried....and cried...and cried. I didn't want to come to school, but I knew I had to. I didn't want them to leave, but I knew I had to grow up. I remember getting out my Bible and reading something in the gospels, and I journaled. I still have that journal of course. I journaled for hours until I got sleepy. I prayed that I would find my way and that this would be such a good thing for me.
The biggest thing about college when you arrive is that everyone is like "Oh what are you studying? What are your classes? What are you majoring in?" ... AS IF AT THE AGE OF 17 (I was young) I HAD ANY IDEA THAT I ACTUALLY KNEW WHAT IT MEANT TO BE A PHARMACIST. SHAKE MY DANG HEAD. I get so frustrated at the notion of needing to decide a career path that early with kids most of the time having never shadowed anyone of the prospective career they want to do. It just seems silly to me, but that's what everyone wants to know and if you don't know, they'll tell you it's okay but you know you better be thinking about it and figuring it out. I felt I had to be perfect when I went to college even though no one else cared.
In high school, I was very social. When I got to college, I was going through a really hard time because for some reason I just acted like I didn't even know how to make a friend and so I just didn't make them. It wasn't that I was ever rude to anyone. I just felt like I needed to study all the time to get the perfect grades to get into the perfect pharmacy school, and so I just never even tried. The first weekend we were allowed to go home, I did. With being a cheerleader, I had to stay some weekends because of games. My mom would come up to the games on Saturday mornings, but on Fridays I would get out of class at 12. I would go to the library and study until it closed at 6 and because I didn't even want to try to make friends, I would go back to my dorm and just do laundry or something random (and cry).
Don't get me wrong. I had a few friends that I had met in classes. One of them was from Shelby as well (Erica Aguero Gardner) and we hung out a good amount but she went home every weekend too and so if I had to stay for a game then I was alone. But truly, she is still one of my best friends to this day and I would have NEVER made it through freshmen year without her.
Sundays, my mom/stepdad/boyfriend weren't there, so I would wake up, go work out and then spend the entire day in the library. I can remember specifically one time I called my mom walking home from the library and she must not have been able to hear a word because I was just heaving crying. I wasn't eating. I wasn't sleeping well and I was straight up DEPRESSED. I wanted to come home, but that was never an option for me because I was "too focused on pharmacy school." I knew I had to suffer through.
They told me college was supposed to be the best years of my life, and I honestly felt stupid so I just kept quiet about it. I cried all the time.
I also am so very thankful that I stuck it out.
When you are 17-18 years old, you do NOT have to have your life figured out, and you also don't need to be afraid to reach out to someone if college is really hard for you. Don't keep quiet like I did those first two semesters. I heard from so many other freshmen similar stories of girls in my own dorm that were also sitting in their dorms crying. I know that for most, it's an easy transition. This is not to say that all college kids/girls feel this way because that is just not true. My cousin Celeste fell right into college and has flourished and I absolutely love it. However, I think that with the hype and excitement we forget about the people that are really struggling and I know that the same thing that happened to me happens to so many.
At the end of my first semester, I'm pretty sure my mom started like figuring out people that went to App that were from my hometown to be like "PLEASE HELP MY CHILD" hahaha! I ended up hooking up with a group of people that one of the girls from my high school had met and they became my closest friends for the next 1.5 years until I transferred to Gardner Webb (a school back home). I got closer to Erica and we became best friends and got an apartment together that second year. It was really only the first and some of the second semester but it's a time in my life that I will never ever forget.
I see all the joy as kids are going off to school this month but my heart aches and breaks for the girl that no one knows is struggling so deeply and maybe, God willing, she will read this blog and know she's not alone. It's okay girlfriend. Stick it out. You'll come out on the other side! You can't see it right now, but there are so many that love you. There are so many that want to be your friend. There are so many other things in this world besides your grades and obsession over food. Don't be afraid to see a counselor. That doesn't mean anything is wrong with you. When you feel you can't cry anymore, lean on others that want to be there for you. And then one day you'll look back and wonder how you landed in the happiness and joy and abundance in life that I feel now.