They say that nobody’s ever ready to take on something new–to make the leap, if you will. Buuuuut that’s why they call they call it a leap.
I start my senior year of college tomorrow. And I already wish it were over.
Now, this is not some I-don’t-want-to-be-in-school-I-love-summer or I-have-no-motivation-as-a-senior-and-therefore-do-not-want-to-do-anything plea. I actually quite love school and learning things. And I’m forever grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the growing I’ve done because of my time in college. Especially in regards to social anxiety. I don’t know if I would have come to recognize this fact about myself and gotten help for it without my experiences at school. But. I just. Want. To be. Done. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Internships and work experience are heavily emphasized to college students, so as to prepare for the Real World, post-graduation. And throughout my three years in school I’ve held four internships. Each one teaching me something new (yay!) about potential career fields, various work environments, as well as my personal work preferences and marketable skills in the workforce. It’s great! To me, it’s basically catching a glimpse of that Real World. And because of all my work experience and internships, I feel like I’m nearly there. Like my education is now just delaying the inevitable. I’m going to enter the workforce after I graduate, hopefully getting a job in my field. Except that feels like exactly what I’ve been doing these past few years, so why not just stay in the workforce permanently instead of constantly moving between a job and school?
Well, I still need my degree, for one. I’ve worked hard for it. Not going back when I have only one, measly year left would be such a waste. I’d feel as though I had nothing tangible to show for it (aside from my nifty experiences and personal growth). Plus, as I have reminded myself, several times, there are still things to learn. And I’m a sucker for learning things. And more outworldly experiences, internal growing, etc. And even after graduating from school that will be the case. So I am ready to go to school to get those experiences and to grow. And to get my degree.
But I am not ready to go back to campus.
At the risk of sounding weird or… imaginative (oh, wait), I think I’m conditioned to fear my school’s campus. To grow anxious while driving near, parking close by, and walking around university grounds. While the fear has lessened in the past year or so, it still lingers.
I didn’t have the most bang-up experience my first year and a half of school. And I’ve never fully recovered. Sure, there were high points: I was doing well in classes–really well, actually–and staying involved on campus (I ended the year with an on-campus job and a separate internship, even). But I felt incredibly lonely.
At the time I only really had one good friend at school. I certainly value quality over quantity in my relationships, but my college-freshman self was convinced otherwise. And when I didn’t miraculously forge dozens of friendships within my first semester (as a sometimes antisocial, socially awkward/anxious introvert, I had unreasonably high expectations), my self-esteem hit an all-time low. I wasn’t meeting the Standard Social Life of a College Student Expectation–or at least what I thought that expectation entailed. I thought something was wrong with me.
In the time since, I’ve gone through some self-growth, obviously. It took me some time to put together the fact that my introversion just wasn’t conducive to meeting my expectation of making and maintaining tons of friendships. Really, it just doesn’t make sense for me. And, honestly, I know I wouldn’t be happy with attempting to keep up with so many people, anyway. Instead, I’ve chosen my select few with whom I’ve built some pretty solid relationships. And, I’m proud of that progress. 🙂
But that doesn’t mean any sense of dread or anxiety is completely wiped whenever I step foot on campus. It’s not the place, but the memories that took place there. Feeling like I did for as long as I did, I can’t simply let those memories go. Especially when I have to continuously visit a place where I felt so unhappy. Moving on from a place is pretty difficult when you’re obligated to constantly spend time there. You know, to like, earn your degree. I’m ready to let go of this part of my life. But, not yet. Not for another year. And, it’s actually looking to be a pretty decent year.
I’m not ready to go back. But I am willing. I want to turn my experiences into something tangible and move forward. So I’ll make that leap. Let’s see how it goes (spoiler: it won’t be so bad. Probably even kind of great. But, you know, worrying’s what I do).
This was definitely one of my longer, more… honest posts in awhile. I don’t talk about these thoughts a lot (for reasons I hope appear obvious), but this is what’s weighing on my mind at the moment, and I wanted to share it with you, Friends. So… go, honesty!
Have a splendid day.