When I sent out my survey a while back, a lot of you said that you wanted to know more about me and my life. I have a private blog where I keep a lot of my personal stories but I am trying to share more here as well. This post is the result of many lonely/quiet nights spent in my apartment and the realization that those nights are pretty great.
I’ve learned a lot in my past year and a half of college life. Moving across the country as an 18-year-old high school graduate and living in a HUGE city teaches you all sorts of life lessons. I have spent a lot of my life participating in (or feeling guilty for not being a party to) activities because I feel/felt a social obligation to enjoy them. My first year in college I felt like living the cliche college experience was the best way to kick off my life. If you are in or ever went to college, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There is this immense pressure to party every night, get so drunk that your friends have to carry you home while you throw up over their shoulders, and engage in sexually promiscuous activities.
I was not a party girl in high school, nor was I promiscuous (only kisses pleaseeee). The thing that shocked me the most about this college lifestyle was how acceptable this way of life was. If you know someone who gets blackout drunk 5 nights a week, you would be extremely concerned about their psychological welfare but while you’re in college this is considered NORMAL. When I first got to school I realized that the people I would consider to be irresponsible/immature children were looked at adoringly. I was SO different from basically everyone I met and was shocked that spending a night “in” was considered to be pathetic. I was shocked that my new friends had the audacity to make fun of me for working out, eating healthy, and only going out on the weekends. Worried that I was missing out on “college”, I tried to blend in with the crowd. I spent a lot of time last year drunk at parties in scary parts of town, wasting my days sleeping off hangovers, and attempting to be viewed as a somewhat promiscuous girl. I even skipped class once because I had gone out the night before and was feeling particularly awful the next morning. I got written up multiple times for drinking in my dorm and grew accustomed to my friends pressuring me to get a fake ID. I went out all the time and would put less effort into school because it wasn’t “cool” to do your homework. I was wildly unhappy but I felt like opting out of these experiences would somehow cheapen my college stories. I was worried that one day I would regret not acting like a fool while I had the chance.
Towards the beginning of second semester, I had a bit of a breakdown. I don’t really remember what set it off but I’m assuming it was a culmination of stress from classes, piles of homework, and drama within my circle of friends. At that point in the year, two of my friends had been kicked out of my dorm and one of them had been kicked out of Columbia entirely. I took stock of where my life was and realized I had been making horrible decisions. I realized that while I was attempting to be the typical college student I had really lost myself. I noticed that none of the “friends” I had made while partying were there for me when I was down and was entirely fed up with the irresponsible lives that many of them led. I sat down and made a lengthy list of things that made me genuinely happy (at this point I don’t really remember any of them). I promised myself that I would be sure to do at least 10 of the activities on the list weekly and that I would attempt to accomplish bigger goals as well. I stopped going out as often and started spending a lot of time with my friend Ben. We explored Chicago, ate some damn good food, went on long drives around the city, and watched about a million movies. I started putting more effort into cooking and crafting and decided that I wanted to build up my blog as a way to market myself and make connections. I made a list of things that I wanted to do but that frightened me and tried to tackle them (still working on those). The friends I had met from parties simply dropped off my radar. They still invited me out and begged me to get drunk with them but it simply wasn’t fun for me anymore. From time to time they got me to agree to go to a party but I never had as much fun as nights that I spent painting or writing. I realized that I wasn’t missing out on anything by staying away from parties. When I’m a successful business-owner (or whatever I decide to be) I know that I won’t have any regrets about my college experiences. Staying faithful to my character is so much more important to me than having a million acquaintances and feeling as though I “fit in” during school.
I guess that leads me to the point of this post. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in who you are supposed to be, but at the end of the day, you should really just be you. I realized that as a career-oriented young lady, partying every night was getting me nowhere. It gets lonely sometimes opting out of drunken parties and when I feel this way I just have to remember that I’m much closer to success than my “normal” college-aged counterparts. A lot of people smoke and drink excessively during college and say that it “doesn’t count” because college isn’t real life. I am always shocked by this because these four years are really the beginning of your adult life. Why wouldn’t you treat your body with the utmost respect? What makes you think that having a college diploma is going to magically make it easy for you to quit smoking or stop partying? In life there isn’t an “off” switch and everything you do takes hard work and dedication. The earlier you apply yourself, the more successful you’re going to be. I wish that someone had told me before college that you don’t have to change yourself to fit in. College (and life) is whatever you make of it and if you’re happy you usually won’t regret what you’re doing. I realized that wild parties, excessive drinking, and avoiding responsibility are not things that make me a better person so I decided to give it up. This is just what works for me though, I’m not trying to start any huge debates here. I just thought that maybe I’d share my little college story with someone out there who may be sitting at home this Saturday night feeling like they’re missing out on something! Just know that you really aren’t missing out on a damn thing and that you’re doing great :).
Now you know a whole lot about me. Care to share anything about you?
I’m accepting sponsors for March now. If you’re interested, please e-mail me your application (you can find it here).