This month is weird. I think the biggest problem is that as a first year it is easy to view the transition into college as being as simple as closing one door and opening another, so when you have those nagging thoughts like “I just want to watch TV in my living room” or “I think I fit in better in high school” you think you’ve somehow failed. But nothing is ever that easy, and while these are two different chapters in your life, they are all a part of the same story. Metaphors, ya know?
Whatever, I’ll be real. I was pretty miserable my first semester. Most people I know were. But it’s just not one of those things that works in Two Truths and a Lie (“My cat’s name is Lewis, I’ve been to Australia and I’m horribly unhappy!”). In my personal experience, the uneasiness can be attributed to three main factors, but the overarching issue is the idea that you are the only person feeling these uneasy emotions. This is article is here to tell you that you’re not.
If you’re the kind of person who can socially thrive with strangers at an Ice Cream Party, you probably can skip this section (also, I’d love to do some experiments on you. We’ll talk). This is for the people who stood in the corner, and had “haha yeah” Ann Perkins moments with everyone they talked to. I met great people my first few weeks who were integral in shaping the way I came into Kenyon, some of whom have gone on to find their own places in the community, and others who I still follow around, get drunk, and slobber on. But a majority of my friends now I didn’t meet until the end of my first year, through classes and clubs and just generally running into each other as we became more and more in each other’s circles. Despite what camp may have taught you, it takes more than two days to form a friendship, and it takes at least a few months before you’re settled into a group of people who you are comfortable with. Things change, you try people on, you try new things, but what’s important is to stay open and honest with yourself about who you are and who makes you happy.
You don’t have to be. Not right away. The best way to to begin college is to acknowledge that you’re a beginner. This is the first time you’ve had the chance to make choices entirely for yourself, but it’s highly likely you don’t necessarily know what the right choices are. The beauty of being independent is for the first time you can make your own mistakes, and for the first time you’re in a position where mistakes can only help you.
FINDING YOUR PLACE IN THE COMMUNITY
It’s going to take a while before Kenyon feels like home, but when it does, it’s the best feeling in the world. It comes with being your own person, making the choices that create an experience that’s best for you. Think about the life you want to have in college, and follow it, and you’ll find a community that supports it. I’m trying not to sound like a tour guide here, but there’s a place for everyone at Kenyon, and more often than not, you create your own. Now in senior year, I realize that my space in Kenyon involves spending hours at Wiggle Ground, singing while drinking cider, and talking at people through the Internet (like this! Meta!). This is not something you need to have figured out now, so just own this awkward first semester in style. Make out with people (if ya wanna), order Cove (if ya wanna), and make horribly embarrassing memories that you won’t feel comfortable talking about for at least a year (this part isn’t optional).
If you’re still feeling weird, there’s a lot of resources you can reach out to. Peer Counselors can be reached by phone (740-398-3806), and also have an office in the Health Center. The Health Center also offers counseling. Get in touch with your advisor, drop by your professors’ office hours, etc. Adventure is out there! Bye.