For some people, the transition from high school to college is one of the easiest things they will ever have to go through. For others, it is one of the hardest transitions in their life. I am a part of the latter group. My story begins with my decision of what college I should attend. I only applied to two and luckily got in to both, but my decision was not easy. Both options had positives and negatives so I began by listing those out. My first choice, Valparaiso, is where I truly wanted to go, I could experience dorm life, and I would receive a great education. However, the fact that Valparaiso is very expensive and two hours away from my family gave me pause. My second option, Indiana University Kokomo, gave me the ability to live at home and I would not have to worry as much about student debt after I graduate. The downside with IUK is that the education would not be up to par with Valpo. The question came down to this: Do I want to stay at home and go to a college where I will know a lot of people or do I want to take a leap away from home, expand my independence, and truly find myself while at the same time meeting brand new people? Well ladies and gents, as seen in the picture for this post, I proudly chose Valparaiso.
While a year became months and months became days while waiting for the impending start of college, I was both equal parts excited and scared. I was excited to begin this new journey in my life and meet so many new people, but at the same time I was scared to death to leave my home, especially my mom. The night before move-in day (August 2016) I spent bawling my eyes out and clutching my mom. I felt like I was a little kid again being sent away to preschool or kindergarten. Nonetheless, move-in day came and to Valparaiso I went. Not surprisingly, as my family took their leave after I was all moved in, there were multiple tearful goodbyes. The next two to three weeks became some of the darkest weeks in my life.
My time during those weeks was spent either attending class and stressing, watching television, talking with my roommate, or crying and missing my family. I cried so much during that time it surprises me I still have any left. I kept going back and forth from telling myself that everything was going to be fine and then thinking that there was no way I was going to make it. It got to a point that I had convinced myself for a short time that college was not meant for me and I would just drop out. That seemed like the only way to solve my problems at the time. I know you are probably sitting there thinking: Why did you not go seek help or talk to someone? The answer to that question is because I wanted to know I was strong enough to pull myself together.
Through the help of my mom and family, I got better as each day passed following those weeks. Do I still cry every once in a while? I would not be me if I did not and anyone that is in college will cry at some point, probably just not as much as me. I will always miss my family whenever I am away at school, but no longer do I feel the dark cloud hanging over me wanting to take the life out of me and make me colorless. I will always stress about my classes because that is just who I am, but no longer do I have the voice in the back of my mind telling me that I am not good enough for college. I cannot give myself full credit for getting to the point I am at today. The reason I got better is because I was not alone.
Whether you are in your first year of college like me or will be starting college later this year, it is VERY important to remember that you are never alone. I found a friend on campus that was also having a tough time transitioning and just by being able to talk to each other helped, even if just a little bit. Having the knowledge that you are not the only college student that feels this way helps greatly. I also know not everyone has the same relationship with their family like I do. However, there are still people around that you can talk to and college campuses have so many resources available as well. For me, I spoke to my family, at least my mom, every single day and I know for a fact that if we did not have the technology we do today, I would not survive being away from home.
It is now the year 2017 and I will soon be heading back to Valparaiso to finish off the last eight weeks of my freshman year. I will be continuing my education there for the rest of my college years and I’m still both excited and scared, but with more excitement this time around. If I can come back from the darkness that consumed me then anyone can. I want to thank my family and the friends of mine that stuck with me when all I did was complain through the beginning of first semester. 🙂 I also want to thank those of you that read through this lengthy post from beginning to end, you are very appreciated. Just do not forget that at any point in your life, whether it be college or just a bump in the road, you are never alone. If you have faith in God then pray (I definitely did, a lot). Talk to your family because at least for me, they helped and did not make it more difficult to transition. Talk to your friends or use the resources available on campus. Lastly, feel free to send me a message! I love listening and being able to help in any way I can 🙂