On Saturday, May 14, I did something. I had to wear a special ‘dress’ and a very uncomfortable hat. For 3 hours. Standing and sitting. Sitting and standing. Up and down. Squished between people. Walking forward. Across. Then down and around. People watched. People clapped. Many smiled, A few cried. And as I was given my official green book and told “Congratulations” several times, I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey I’ve taken to get here.
Starting Route to Green Bay
It was a hot and humid August day when I turned onto the half circle called Walter Way. My would-be roommate had already moved in a week before, but she was out of town until the first day of classes (which was 5 days away). Before I set out to unload my car that I had strategically packed like a game of Tetris, I went to the Community Center on campus to check in.
It was officially official since I checked in that I was attending UW-Green Bay, a mere 3 hours away from the place I called home. After I finished unloading my old, red Corsica, and sprawled everything of mine across the floor, I stretched my body across my mattress that lay bare of anything, even a simple pillow.
Thoughts flooded my mind.
This is it. College. My room. No dog. No cats. No turtles. No horse outside. The closest people I knew were a good 45 minute drive away. Needless to say, I was scared out of my mind. “What have I done?” I thought to myself.
After some time of unpacking, my RA (Resident Assistant) Andrew knocked on my door to tell me that I am to be in the lounge downstairs for a meeting within the next few minutes. So I headed down, walked in, and stood fairly close to the door. The room was full, and I was so shy around new people. Then a few minutes after me walked in a girl with red hair with blonde bangs. She avoided eye contact and stood next to the door. The beginning of the meeting we were told to turn to the person next to us and chat with them.
“Hi, I’m Angel.”
I didn’t think we’d be friends for long, because I kind of suck at making and keeping friends. It turns out, she was just as awkward as me. Cynthia was my first friend, and as time went on, our friendship blossomed into a stronger bond. After our first year, we roomed together for the next three years. Our friendship soon turned into weird and sarcasm 99% of the time; she truly was, and I’d still consider her today, my best friend. In the end, I think I needed her as much as she needed me.
The first friend in college is always important. It might be a roommate, but not always. I’ve met a girl who pretty much hated her roommate. However chances are, a first friend will be a lifelong friend. Cynthia taught me that.
The Struggle was Real
Let me just come right out and say it: my faith was consistently put on trial. College was the craziest experience of my life because I was afraid of being judged, and I hated having to answer questions like why didn’t I cut hair or why did I always wear skirts. Some days I felt confident in who I was, while other days I debated about changing myself to look more “normal.”
Then, my relationship with my ex was starting to become more rocky. We fought more. I felt insecure with myself which often caused me to react to certain situations in a very negative way. My insecurities lead him to be more insecure which caused a rift in our communication. After dating and fighting for three years, we decided to go our separate ways. Honestly, I think we’re both happier now.
These challenges taught me that I wasn’t being honest with myself and those who truly cared about me. I didn’t tell people I was struggling. I barely asked for prayer. I pretended I was a faithful servant. It’s easy faking. It’s hard to be real.
Fish are Friends (and we like Food)
I was privileged to befriend several people throughout my time. Carrie was my first friend I made in a class. We met in Spanish. I also met Andrea in Spanish. Both turned out to know each other and I can say they are very close friends.
I met Skyler in an English class. They are definitely one of my best friends. We’ve had so many adventures that it’s hard to pick which is my favorite…ah the memories!
Faith and I were just meant to be. From small town Albany, one of her best friends, Natasha, moved to the Dells while we were in high school, and of course I knew Natasha. So when Faith became my RA, and we discovered this link between us, we became fast friends.
I’ve met so many wonderful people like Abby, Marie, Andrew, Amber, many Emily’s, Shane, Danielle, Rosie, Scott, Haley, Kim, Brad, Ashley, Brigitta, Rachel, Olly, Kyle, Aaron, many Amanda’s, Trevor, Katie’s, and several other people whom I can’t name at the top of my head. From coffee dates, to casual chats, to classroom friends, to hanging out, to school trips, to eating pizza because we like food, friends are vital for emotional support and just overall keeping the stress levels to a minimum.
Ending Route in the Future
Two most popular questions for me as a college student: “What are you studying?” and “Oh English, aye, so do you wanna be a teacher?” Why no, because I am not a teacher. Patience? Yes. Capabilities? No.
J.K. Rowling once said, “I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage or secure a pension. I know that the irony strikes with the force of a cartoon anvil now.” I know that I enjoy writing, reading, and editing. If Rowling can overcome her childhood, I think I can too.
Though I do hope to someday, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to write a book. I don’t know where I’m supposed to go, or what I’m supposed to do, but I do know that I have a God who will show me and provide a way for me to head towards the future.