When I came to Hope, I had created a vision for what I wanted my college experience to be. It was inspired by a combination of stories from my family members, daydreaming with my friends, and regrettably, a lot of overly romanticized teen movies.
My dad, specifically, made a point to share a lot of his memories with me. He saw us as similar types: introverted, drawn to the bizarre, avid listeners of NPR and musical soundtracks. It was unavoidable that I’d want to get to college and recreate his band of Dostoyevsky reading misfits he surrounded himself with. I wanted to purchase a beaten up typewriter to share with my roommates, live in a molding house we would call “The Palace,” and play croquet with them mid campus in silk robes.
None of these things happened. Freshman year, I roomed with a pre-vet student and we went out very little. I retreated within myself, spending my free time watching too much anime and writing bad songs. I outwardly dismissed the students that formed loud, boisterous friend groups, but internally envied their ease around each other. I watched a lot of John Hughes films, stayed in my dorm room often, and questioned why I was at Hope.
It took an unexpected conversation my dad over spring break to snap me out of my haze. He was telling me about his college days again, about him and his weekend routine of drinking at the dingiest bar in town because it was the hippest. But my interest halted at the work “routine.” I was familiar with it because I had created my own, one that bored me before I even I got home from class. My dad continued and confirmed my thoughts, saying that he quickly grew tired of going to that bar so often, but carried on because it gave off the outward impression of being “cool.” He told me he envied the time I had alone.
I realized that comparing myself to my dad and others was only going to keep me from doing any of the things I wanted. I spent all my time imagining what adventures others were having instead of having my own. In honesty, I immensely love having time alone, but when others are involved, spontaneity can be sparked.
So stop comparing yourself to others! Most likely, there’s been plenty of people looking back at you, thinking to themselves, Hot dang, they’re cool… If only I could be more like them…