Proud

Twelve days.

A minor spat with the roommate, a lot of reading, not much time to relax, some forced socializing, a lost room key – all of that and more, in my first twelve days at college.

The life of an aspiring English major...

The life of an aspiring English major.

But, despite the stress, I’ve been having the time of my life. My roommate and I are pretty close even though we have different interests – him, computer science/linguistics, me, English/Psychology. While I’ve had a ton of reading to get through on a daily basis it has been enjoyable; the experience of discussing texts with others who value words as much as I do is also enlivening. The forced socializing of orientation led to me meeting quite a few new friends, though I can tell I’ll get closer to some more than others. There’s just so much to do here: I’ve already found a job, but beyond that there are creative writing clubs, lit mags, the gay/straight alliance, and a myriad of organizations I’m interested in.

The question that I keep coming back to: what am I going to do with my life? Two weeks haven’t passed and I’ve already thrust myself into the throes of preemptive anxiety. The plan had been so simple just a month ago: go to college, learn as much as I can, become a fantastic teacher and writer. But I see so many new possibilities now – do I want to go to grad school for English, Education, or Psychology? Obtain a PhD and become a professor? Stick to high school or maybe go into research?

Thanks to Queer as Folk I came across this song, and at least for now, it answers my question. Every day I will do at least one thing that makes me proud, whether it be writing a page or reading a book or trekking to the gym across campus. As long as I maintain my passion for learning and my desire to make a difference, it’ll all work out. I don’t know when, or how, or why, but there’s no point in poisoning my mind with unfounded worries for the future.

We are where we are. Take three deep breaths: one for the past that you promise to let go, one for the future and its highs and its lows, and one for the present, the here and now, because it’s all you need to know.

My new desktop background!

My new desktop background!

For those of you who have been through college, how did you handle all of its facets? For others, is there anything in your life stressing you out? Sorry for the spontaneous personal update post – just wanted to explain why I’ve been so busy and why I haven’t posted anything besides book reviews as of late. Hopefully when I figure out when my extracurricular activities will take place I can come up with a more efficient writing schedule. Also, you can check out my brief review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone here, as well as an intriguing TV pilot one of my blogging friends is attempting to produce here.

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “Proud

  1. This is a brilliant strategy.

  2. Yay! You’re there! Worth noting: I’m really good friends with 3 girls and one chap met on my first day at University. I’m not in touch with any of the people I shared a flat with that we were assigned in the first year. But I still have a number of Facebook friends from that era.

    You may reinvent yourself in this year, you may not. Enjoy it for what it is, because it will pass quickly. Grasp opportunities to step outside what you normally do (I am an English degree holder as we know and I blooming well LOVE linguistics, by the way). Go you! You’ve got here, now it’s time to find out what “here” is all about!

    • It’s wonderful that you forged those long-term connections during your first day. I will do my best to make meaningful relationships and take advantage of every opportunity. Thanks for the support!

  3. My best advice would be to keep taking it a day at a time. Building a new life takes time! Don’t worry if you don’t have new best friends or a new hobby at first. Take time to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. You’re in college to become something greater! Roommates can be an issue, but they don’t have to be their best friend. You just have to live with them amiably. Make mistakes and don’t be afraid to change!

    • You’re right – with four years here, I don’t need to rush. That being said I won’t slack on socializing and taking advantage of opportunities, but I won’t burden myself with extraneous stress in the mean time. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  4. So happy to hear your settling in, Thomas!

  5. I loved reading your post! I am three years out of my undergrad experience and I’m wrapping up my Masters but your post brought back all the insanity of freshman orientation! I applaud your resolution to not worry and to take things one task at a time. When I graduated college I spent 9 months unemployed and clueless about what to do until I had an epiphany that I should be a librarian. It all works out, somehow. Enjoy your English classes, new friends, and activities! Btw, my college roommate and I are still best friends (practically soul mates) even though she now lives on the other side of the country.

    • It’s wonderful that you found your calling with relative ease and that you’re now doing what you love. I will do my best to learn as much as I can and to reach out for opportunities, even if some of them are outside of my comfort zone. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  6. Congratulations with all that you’ve done till now – reading/learning! College sounds like a lovely experience with all the new possibilities and thoughts it has opened up for you. All thoughts are some thoughts – even if you feel anxious now, as long as you try to understand the feelings and thoughts better, you will surely get to a place where you feel more sure about things!
    Ah, I signed up for the gay/straight alliance club at my school as well! They haven’t had a meet up yet (School only started today.) but I’m looking forward to when it does! Good luck for the following weeks that are yet to come! Cheers!

    • You’re right Shudha – thoughts are thoughts, and how we handle them is what really matters. It’s great that we both signed up for the gay/straight alliance clubs at our schools. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  7. Pingback: The 01st Day Of School Went Great! | Sad Rainy Days

  8. Thanks for this post. While college is many, many years in my past, I still remember my first day and weeks vividly. I am going to incorporate the advice about pride in my daily life NOW. As for what you want to do with your life, rest-assured that even middle-aged women grapple with that concept. (In fact, I tackled it in my posts this Monday and two weeks ago.) My advice for you would be to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and enjoy all the new experiences college has to offer. You have plenty of time to set your life’s path, and even then, you will have plenty of opportunities to change directions.

    • You’re right that there’s no set age when we figure everything out in our lives – it’s a process, and putting one foot in front of the other is always an important step. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  9. OoooOoh, what a lovely post! I really love the notion that you have going on about doing something that’ll make yourself proud each day. It’s fabulous!

    As for College, I’m currently in my second year at Uni and when I’d started I was a broomstick – don’t ask why I’m referencing myself to a broomstick D: – lost in a sea of male testosterone. Heh! I do engineering so it was hard to find girls’ being surrounded by a male dominated course. Not going to lie, first week was kinda tough; I only managed to make one friend and the following week she kind of found her own friends. – The horror – but then I met this girl, who was so nice, that she ended up introducing me to the group friends she’d met. I found it awkward because I had nothing in common with any of them, so I felt somewhat left out. But hey, that’s just how I built myself around them; and I started to get to know each of them, finding that I did have things in common.. It was great ^^ – excuse my life story – just felt like sharing. Hope the College experience is everything you want and more, have fun and do exactly what you’re doing now because from the looks of it, it’s working ^^

    Luck!

    bb~

    • Don’t apologize, I love hearing how other people have overcome difficult experiences in their lives and have grown for the better. Which, coming from your comment, is exactly what you did. Your ability to adapt to the situation and to make the best of your initial time at university inspires me. I’ll do my best to make the most out of my college experience – thank you for reading and commenting!

  10. “As long as I maintain my passion for learning and my desire to make a difference, it’ll all work out. I don’t know when, or how, or why, but there’s no point in poisoning my mind with unfounded worries for the future.” You’ve nailed it right there. And I think you have every right to be proud =] (and it might be a little weird but I’m proud of you, too). I’m glad you’re in this environment now, where you’re thriving. I hope you try everything and have lots of fun.

    • I don’t think it’s weird that you’re proud of me. (; But, on a serious note, thank you for your support. It is a wonderful learning environment and it’s filled with people who are passionate about what they do, which is what really matters in the end. Thank you for reading and commenting as always!

  11. HelloHwaitingBuhBye

    Thomas you’re doing so well. I hope your posts never stop as they are inspiring me every time. I love that desktop background! Such a great saying.

  12. LOVE THAT WALLPAPER! I hope you meet lots and lots of people and meet life-friends this year. :) You have four years to figure out the “what will I do” and I have no doubt whatever you end up doing, you’ll be great at.

  13. Sounds like you are doing terrifically so far! And yay for another English major!!! There are not enough us. You have already caught on to the important things – focusing on doing things that make you proud (or in my case, empowered) really helps you keep your own sanity. The joining organizations part is hard – my first year, I wanted to do everything. But I’ve realized that doing so would only make me cranky and unable to do anything well. So now I pick one or two things I know I want to do and I stick to those. And keep doing things that remind you who you are deep down. For me, it means setting aside time every month or so to read some fiction. And wearing jeans. But whatever it is, do the little things that go back to always being you.

    • I agree, no matter what people purport there will never be enough English majors on this planet. Thank you for the advice – I do plan to stick to what I am passionate about. Even if I can’t do every single thing I’m interested in it’ll be better for me to make a full commitment to certain clubs/organizations just so I can create a meaningful contribution. Hope you read some fabulous fiction this month and wear a splendid pair of jeans!

  14. Oh, you should definitely feel proud, Thomas! You have accomplished so much already and I am sure that you will accomplish even more– no matter how little those accomplishments seem, they are always important! And it’s good that you are thinking of the present and being relaxed about your future. (Ha, saying reminds me of one of Grace’s posts). Thinking about your future is very important, but it’s always best to enjoy the present and make as much of it as you can :)

    For me, the amount of schoolwork I have is what stresses me out. I didn’t do very well in the second half of the school year last year, so I am trying to do things better now but…. Schoolwork gets me extremely frazzled O_O

    Also, I’m going to borrow that wallpaper. I need it more than the Nyan Cat that is currently on my computer.

    • Thank you so much Lottie! It’s great that there are some shared themes running through my blog and Grace’s. I hope you find a balance between reading, homework, and your extracurricular activities – with effort and time it will work out. While I adore my wallpaper, the Nyan Cat isn’t a bad one either. (:

  15. Top tips for distressing at college: join LOTs of society’s mailing lists but just go to the bits you fancy, junk food, tv, card games with friends, exercise e.g. volunteer dog walking (epic!) and… try to check out reading you’ll need for essays in plenty of time – or when you go for them, they’ll be gone already! Also, be really nice to your roommate at all time (that includes when they stumble in drunk at 3AM. sorry). :-)

  16. Hey. Have given you a bit of a shout out on my latest post. Hope that’s okay.

  17. Well, it’s great that you started thinking about this early. But one thing about PhD, I’m assuming you’ll do Eng or Psych. Be really aware of exit opportunities, basically Eng PhD you’re confining yourself to a life of academia. Psych you can do clinical research as well as teaching.. I was reading an article the other day saying that there were too many PhDs for limited professor posts.. duh, but not all PhDs go into academia..

    Michelle

    • Yes if I go the PhD route I will probably pursue Psychology, because I feel like that has more of a human impact than English – even though I love both. But yes you’re right it is rather obvious that there are a plethora of PhDs in some subjects and that they offer an array of opportunities outside of academia. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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