What I Did Wrong In College

Monday, September 4, 2017


I'm not perfect. Luckily, I grew up with Hannah Montana truthfully singing "Nobody's Perfect" so I didn't have these unrealistic expectations about perfection. All jokes aside, I screwed up a lot in college. I also did some great things for myself, but I'm willing to admit that I started college on a bad note. I didn't do my first two years of college right, or at least, not the way I thought I could have done them. And even into my senior year, I was still making mistakes that I carried with me from year to year. What would life be if we didn't make a few mistakes from time to time, right?

I think my mistakes could be broken up into two sections: socialization during my first two years of college and managing stress my last two years of college. It's easy to think about things in retrospect, playing "what if" games until I realize that I can't change anything no matter how questions I ask myself about what could have been different. I'm not mad or disappointed about how my college experience ended. I didn't have a bad time at college and in fact, I kind of miss it now that I'm not there. But, you know, there are a few things that I could've worked on more that I think would have been beneficial for me at that time.


I let my shyness get the best of me


A teacher in third grade once told me that she didn't know what my voice sounded like during the year because I never talked. In elementary school, I was as shy as shy could be. At the beginning of middle school, I hung out with people who weren't exactly the nice girls at the school and found myself trying really hard to be "cool" when the reality was that I just wasn't. After that disaster of a friend group, I was back to being shy and quiet until I found a small group of friends in high school. I never really learned how to be anything but an introvert before I went away to school and didn't take advantage of the clean slate that I was getting when I went to a new school in a new state with absolutely nobody that I had ever met in my entire life. 

I was afraid to meet new people, talk to people on my floor, make friends in classes. I tended to welcome loneliness in a time that I probably needed to be around people, not with my own restless thoughts. I had never been somebody with an extensive network of friends, but not even having a couple of people to go to the dining hall with made me never want to leave the room. I was never going to be the loudest person in the room, but I'm still a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't step out of my comfort zone earlier. Truly, I'm convinced the only reason I ended up with my friends in college was because of one friend who was much braver than I was and made the first move.  

I held on too long to the past


My transition into college wasn't as smooth as I thought it would be. I had never been away from home and I was comfortable in Western New York, which was part of the reason why I wanted to leave it. I had to deal with the consequences of wanting freedom away from home, which meant trying to combat homesickness. Unfortunately, there wasn't much about Cleveland at that time that made it easy to weigh against being home. This was before I had my jobs, friends, and a car to go do things without relying on public transportation or walking.

I found arguably too much comfort in things of the past. I didn't want to live in high school forever. I wanted to make new friends, new experiences, new memories. I didn't want to forget about high school, but instead of cherishing those memories, I shackled myself to them and found it hard to move on from them. I would never encourage anybody to forget a fairly positive high school experience forever (I'd argue that it'd be another story if someone had a detrimentally negative high school experience), but when you're not even in the same area code anymore everything becomes more difficult.

I put too much pressure on friendships that were spread across three different cities, treating them like nothing had changed. Ultimately, my tie to them fizzled out, cutting out a majority of people I knew from home. Things happen for a reason, sure, but that doesn't stop it from sucking.

I let my perfectionism turn me into a stress monster 


This isn't new information in the slightest. I've been pretty open and candid about my junior year of college and spreading myself way, way too thin with everything I had going on. The problem is, I didn't let it stop after junior year. I made excuses for my final semester of college, saying that it was only busy because of my capstone project and my last few classes before graduation. Hell, I even let it carry over into post-grad life when I picked up an internship that was just not for me that took up all of my free time and stressed me out more than any class had.

I don't like to half-ass things. If I was going to take a class, I was going to do everything I possibly could to get a good grade in that class. This backfired about 95% of the time and I wish I knew how to chill. I have a post coming later this week talking more in detail about how my need to be the busiest added a layer of miserableness to my college experience that could've been avoided, and it definitely went hand in hand with my perfectionism and stress problem.


I stayed in a major that I wasn't fully interested in


When I originally chose Cleveland State University and journalism, I genuinely thought that I wanted to write for Rolling Stone or Alternative Press. Now, you've all seen me try to talk about music on here. Where the hell did I get the idea that I'd be able to do this for a living, let alone at two massive music publications? I digress, I thought Cleveland was perfect because it was home to Alternative Press and had the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just a twenty to thirty minute walk from my dorm. There were plenty of concerts coming to town and I'd surely find my way.

It all happened in a string of events. I realized that I couldn't write about music and then after taking my first news writing class, I realized that I didn't want to write about news at all. Around the same time I started finding my footing with this blog and getting more into fashion, I realized that I'd made a grave mistake and that journalism wasn't for me. By this point, I was already on track to graduate early and if I back-tracked to try to find a new major, I'd screw up my plans. Since I set the goal to graduate early, I decided to stick with journalism and hate my life every second I had to interview someone or write an article about something I didn't care about. In truth, there wasn't any major that I wanted to switch to at CSU, but I could've tried to switch to the PR/Advertising track that my school offered, even if it wasn't my ideal major. 

For someone who tells people that it's completely normal to switch majors in college, I didn't follow my own advice. I'm sure I could have worked something out where I could've still been on the same track. Instead, I stuck with it and didn't enjoy the work I was doing. 

I didn't get involved on campus


My junior year, I was the online editor of one of the few campus newspapers. Because everything I did was online, I was never required to go to any of the meetings or really do anything besides making sure the website was updated on Monday night to go live on Tuesday morning. That was the extent of my involvement on campus. I didn't go to events put on by other campus groups, I didn't think to join anything else. I just did my individual work in my bedroom at 11 p.m. on Monday night and felt like I was doing something.

I'm sure I could have found a group on campus that was interesting to me. There were hundreds of campus organizations that I chose not to join because...I don't even have a good reason why, I just didn't. I wasn't looking to join dozens of organizations just for the sake of it, but it would've been nice to go to some meetings every once in a while for something that I was interested in with people who had similar interests!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

That was a mouthful. Truthfully, I enjoyed college. I had a nice time and I do miss it. However, sometimes it's nice to look back at things that could have been done differently. I'm not dwelling on it in the slightest. If anything, this hopefully will help me in the future when I'm forced to start over again in a new city, just without the collegiate aspect. 

6 comments

  1. I'm heading back to my second year of Uni in the UK, and I'm scared that I might mess up again. I didn't have a good first term in Uni, but after I fixed what was wrong (I was clinging on the past), I had a much enjoyable second term. I think a lot of things can be done differently, but we shouldn't regret it. Made it who we are now :)

    with love, Bash   |   HEY BASH

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    1. Oh yeah, no regrets from school here! Just things where I'm like "well, that could've gone better!" Hope your second year of uni goes well! Crossing my fingers for you Bash! :)

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  2. I think my biggest regret is rushing through it. I loved it and all, but I graduated a year early. Too eager to start my career.

    www.repressingthecrazy.com

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    1. Oh girl, I feel! The idea of saving money on tuition/rent and getting a head start on your career is really enticing, I would've done the same thing.

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  3. I regret being so shy and not getting more involved on campus as well, but you're right – no point in dwelling! At least we know what we can change for the future and we can apply these things in our adult lives :)

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    1. Exactly! Just another thing we can do for ourselves in the future :)

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