Life Update: Starting College, Anxiety, Deleting Social Media, Forgiveness, Switching Schools? Changing My Major? Let’s Catch Up!

It’s been awhile since my last post, and honestly, I’ve missed posting on here SO MUCH! But, as you may or may not know, I recently started my first semester of college, and I did not expect to be so busy, especially because I am only at the Columbus State Delaware Campus.

This college was in no way my first, nor even my second choice, but ultimately, it came down to finances. I was very upset, mainly with myself, to be going to a community college that was only about 10 minutes from my house and still having to rely on my family to get to and from school. I was convinced I would be the only person I knew who would be on campus, and seeing my best friends move away to bigger and better colleges was really discouraging to me, and for a time, I felt inferior to be going to a community college.

Before I go any further, let me tell anyone who is reading this, and trying to desperately scrape up money to go to a “higher university”, thinking that it somehow will be seen as more impressive or what have you, if college is not in your price range, do not force yourself. Trust me, nothing feels worse than having to leave your friends and having to live at home, I know; but we all are starting in the same place regardless of your major. The first 2 years of most college experiences are only gathering your prerequisites, and since we all need the same credits, why not do it for a cheaper price? No matter where you start, you are never stuck there, it’s important to remember that. When I started at Columbus State, I thought I’d be there for the next two years, and at the time, that felt like an eternity. I honestly went in with a terrible attitude, and I didn’t even want to make new friends because I was so obstinate against this new stage in my life.

Well, I’m about halfway through my first semester at Columbus State, and I can say it is NOT as bad as I anticipated, at all. I know that I was against a community college for many of the same reasons other people may be; they’re cheaper, which people associate with poorer education, but that has not been my experience at all. All of my teachers have challenged me daily, and I feel that I have not been shortchanged in any way. I have a huge workload, challenging courses and engaging teachers. My history teacher has a doctorate and my psychology teacher is a psychologist herself. Community colleges hire their teachers in the same way other colleges do; they aren’t just picking up the cheapest options off the streets to keep tuition low, they are legitimate educators, with all of the credentials necessary to teach.

So, what does keep tuition low?

I am obviously no expert on college funding, and I think my community college experience may be different from other people, but speaking from personal experience, I can say that there are two ways that my campus is keeping their tuition affordable. First, they are a relatively new campus; it was only opened in Autumn of 2010. Secondly, and most importantly I believe, it is only a single building, with 2 stories. While there is plenty of open land surrounding the campus, I was told that they did initially have plans to make the campus bigger, but unfortunately the economy fell through and did not allow for these plans to become a reality. Being that it is so small, they aren’t having to spend an excess of money running multiple buildings, hiring food services and hundreds of teachers. I’m hoping in the future that they are able to expand their campus and services because I believe community college is becoming a more accepted way to begin your college career. I know I have become a supporter of this option.

Going to a community college does not mean you aren’t smart. If anything, you’re being smarter in a different way: financially smart. You may be surprised who you see at your local community college. On my first day, I was happily surprised to see some of the kids, who I thought for sure would go to any college they wanted, had decided to start at Columbus State, for one reason or another. I think more and more people are realizing how costly college is, and are going the community college route, which means for the future, you may end up still going to school with some of your friends! My advice: apply and try your hardest to get into the schools you really desire to go to, but if they don’t pan out, keep a community college in your back pocket, even if you are only taking a few classes.

Community colleges realize that their students want the same experiences as those who are going to high price tag universities: clubs, student interaction and the fun that you may be seeing all over everyone else’s Snapchats; and they do their best to cater to this. My college has food trucks that come about every other week, a bunch of clubs that students can join, it hosted a welcome week with games, and it even has an exercise room! While it may not appear to be as lavish as other campuses, it tries its best to measure up, and deserves to be recognized for its effort.

Let’s be honest, college is a culture shock. All through high school, my teachers always told me, “college is a different world, it’s harder, it’s a ton of work…” and I never really believed them. Please, listen to them! I was always a smart student. I graduated Magna Cum Laude and never really had a hard time keeping up with my assignments. I thought I would be fine in college, I really thought it would be no different. College is truly a ton of work, and it’s completely different than high school because your teachers will not bother you about assignments. They don’t care if you fail something, if you miss an assignment or even if you don’t bother to go to class; it’s your money and your tuition; ultimately it’s up to you. Here’s my advice: pay attention to your syllabuses. On the very first day of your classes, you’ll most likely be given a packet of papers that appear to only tell you about the rules of the class, and while your tendency may be to throw this away and ignore it, check through all of it and make sure there isn’t a calendar of the semester attached. This will be your saving grace while trying to manage your time and keep up with assignments (which I’m honestly still trying to figure out).

Get an Agenda Book or a Dry Erase Calendar, or both! If you can have something that you’ve written all of your assignments in, on you or in your room (dorm or otherwise), you can reference it at any time and make sure you are keeping up with your assignments. Even the tiniest of assignments can save your grades.

Attendance actually matters! I know, sometimes the desire to just not go to class because you’ve pulled an all nighter for a different class or you partied too hard the night before, is OVERWHELMING. College is truly the most exhausting thing I’ve ever experienced. No matter how many naps I take, I feel like I’m eternally fatigued, but you have to realize that sitting through an hour and a half class, either late at night or early in the morning, can be the difference between a D and a B, and it’s all based on attendance. You don’t even have to raise your hand, just sign in and sit down, and pretend to pay attention. That 8 a.m. that made you want to pull your hair out may end up saving your GPA . Even though I am on a full scholarship to C-State, tuition expenses may also end up being another motivator for going to class. Whatever gets you there, just go!

Now that I’ve given all of the advice I’ve learned in my short college experience, what else have I been up to? While it all revolves around college, I’ve made some major changes and learned a lot of stuff about myself recently.

I do in fact suffer from anxiety, social and general, as well as depression. To understand what follows after this, I suggest you read this post.  In short, I was left behind by my best friend of 6 years in eighth grade, and from this experience I developed the social anxiety and depression I still struggle with today. I hadn’t talked to this person since the day she had stopped talking to me. I struggled through my final year of eighth grade, and luckily in my freshman year of high school, I met a group of seniors who took me into their friend group, and eventually forgot about what I gone through only a short year before. (Yes, my life is The Perk’s of Being a Wallflower). Here’s the thing though: I didn’t forget. I suppressed and told myself I’d gotten over it. I think in the back of my mind, I always knew what I had to do to feel better, but it terrified me to admit it. I thought my antidepressants would help, I thought making new friends would help, I thought doing my own thing, would help. But it was reaching a point where nothing I was doing was for me. I was constantly haunted by being abandoned by the person who I thought would always be in my life. Nothing would help, except facing this person. So I did. I messaged them on Facebook, explained what I went through, and forgave this person for what they’d done to me.

Nothing had felt better. While it was terrifying in the beginning, once I had done it, it felt like the past 10 years had been lifted off of my shoulders, and my trust issues and abandonment issues have improved immensely. My best friend, who has been featured on here, and has her own blog (go spam her and tell her to post!) came back from college

Me And Chlo, her welcome back weekend 

to visit me, and I got to meet her new boyfriend (shout out to you Rod, keep my girl happy!) and it was honestly one of the best feelings having her back. In the beginning of college, I struggled to let her go, and I found myself constantly checking my social media, wanting to see if she had contacted me, or if it looked like she was moving on, and I was convinced I was going to lose all of my friends. Eventually, my thoughts became so consumed with making sure I wasn’t losing the people in my life, that I deleted all of my social media, except Facebook, and soon after I felt my mind clearing again. It’s been about 2 months since I’ve been off of social media, and I don’t even feel the need to have it anymore. I’m able to focus on my schoolwork and I’m no longer consistently terrified of being abandoned. Having someone who came back, and who I feel is always going to be there for me, at first felt foreign, but now has helped me immensely. I knew I needed to move on from my past if I was going to be okay with a long distance friendship.While I still struggle with my anxiety, my confidence has improved, and as hard as it truly is, forgiveness really can be the best medicine. Even if the other person may not deserve it, do it for yourself, because no one deserves to feel like they don’t deserve friends or that no one wants to be their friend for as long as I did. Remember to be kind to yourself: give it it’s own time; whether that’s 6 months or 6 years, we all heal on our own clocks and I’m a firm believer that you will always know when it’s your time.

How did I finally know it was my time, especially after 6 years? It wasn’t my first time feeling alone, feeling that I couldn’t trust anyone and dealing with the triggers of the abandonment, so what made me finally forgive my ex-best friend?

Here’s the big news: I got into OSU! Yes! I will be transferring to OSU main campus in the spring, and I am elated! I will be studying psychology, which is a huge change from what my family expects. My original plan was to study creative writing, but OSU does not offer a creative writing major and is not known for their English department. While it was scary at first to suddenly want to change my major, I’m super excited to study psychology, because I know I want to do something that will help people. I’m an extremely empathetic person, and I’ve had a few experiences where I was able to help my own friends through their own issues. I’m super interested in the medical field, and being that I suffer from mental illness myself, I want to help other people who are going through similar situations. I am passionate about demystifying the stigma surrounding mental illness, and I am also aware of the effectiveness of medicine for treatment of these illnesses. I will of course still be writing as much as I can, as it is still my first love.

But what does this have to do with my sudden urge to forgive people in my past? I wanted to be able to completely commit myself to my college experience. I wanted to make new friends, go out, be social and conquer my anxiety and insecurities. The first step, I felt, was forgiveness. I want to be able to make my own friends, without fearing that I’ll lose my current ones, and to completely feel and know that I deserve happiness, and finally know that while some people may go in and out of your life, not everyone will leave you. I’m super hopeful about what OSU holds for me, and I truly do feel better about myself everyday.

Wow….much like college, this post has been a roller coaster, and if you read it all and made it to the end, you’re a trooper! I hope it wasn’t too long winded, I was just super excited to finally have time to write, and had a lot of updates, so I hope you enjoyed! What else do you want to see? Did I miss anything? I can’t wait to add more of my experiences at OSU! See you all there 🙂

Thanks for Reading!
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XOXO- Dellie

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