An Insider Look at Independence
Hello all, and welcome to the Freshman Chronicles, a place in the SPECTRUM where I get to rant about different parts of being a freshman that have caused me enough emotional turmoil for me to feel the need to share with all of you.
Each installation discusses a new topic, and today’s is the independence that comes with going to college. I want to preface this by including that I am going to come off as very sheltered and dependent in this article, but believe it or not, I do know how to take care of myself.
Now, I am about to expose myself which might cause you all to look at me in a different light, that light being that I am a privileged snob: my mom did my laundry for me until the day I moved on campus.
Don’t get me wrong, I helped out every once in a while, but I most definitely realized both how much I took it for granted and how little natural athleticism I have when I had to haul my week’s worth of laundry up and down three flights of stairs.
Although independence at college means having to take care of yourself, it also means having complete freedom. Kind of. For me, having freedom isn’t that huge of a deal because, even in high school, I didn’t have a social life; I didn’t do anything to the point that my parents never had to enforce a curfew on me because the only time I went out was when they forced me to.
I like to think that I’ve gotten better about holing myself up in my room alone because, contrary to my past, I do usually have something planned with friends in my free time now.
Personally, I find the freedom thing applies more to my control over how I spend my time. I can say that I have enjoyed having complete authority over my schedule and not having to adapt it to the seven other people in my family.
I can wake up when I want because my classes don’t start until 2 PM usually. I can hit up the Welly to play a little basketball whenever my heart desires. I can eat at a time of my choosing. I can even read for hours on end if that’s what I decide to do with my day.
Yes, this list might not seem all that intriguing to most of you, but all that matters is that it’s exciting to me.
Anyway, what I’m getting at is that college has helped me realize just how many things I am forced to juggle by myself. Even though I don’t always enjoy that I can’t depend on others to make decisions for me, I know deep down that it’s exactly what I needed because the independence that comes with college is something that forces you to play the part of an adult.
I have a few likes and dislikes when it comes to independence.
One, I love doing laundry. Although the trip I must endure to get to the laundry room can be annoying, I have allotted the time it takes for my laundry to get done to a self-care routine which consists of my listening to a calming playlist and reading my book of the week.
Now that I think about it, I might have classically conditioned myself to love doing laundry simply because of that routine. Besides the point, this is a high for me each week.
Now for number two, you guys might think I’m a little weird(I know that’s laughable since I just disclosed that I love doing laundry), but I love putting aside time to find a fun spot to do my homework.
Before, when I had extracurriculars, I had to do my homework on the bus to and from practice or at 11 PM which means I was consistently rushing everything. I never got to bask in the gloriousness of setting the academic mood.
Since I have control over my schedule, I can now choose a specific time and place to be an academic weapon. My favorite places are the booths in the library or the third-floor people-watching windows in Sugihara Hall, and my favorite times are 10 AM or 5 PM.
Three, I have all my nights free to do activities of my choosing. Whether it be hanging out with friends, participating in campus-wide activities, or just sitting in my room watching a movie or reading, having the ability to make my own plans has allowed me to feel a lot more like an adult.
Now, for my dislikes, or in this case, dislike. My first and only dislike is that I don’t have built-in friends. I have always been close with my family, so when I didn’t have friends to hang out with, which was a majority of the time, I could always depend on having one of my siblings.
I’m the kind of person who likes to spend most of my time with others, so when all my friends make plans with other people, and I have no one to hang out with, I’m hit with a sense of longing for my life before college.
It’s sad to think that the people I have depended on for 18 years are no longer this huge part of my life.
If independence has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t always rely on others whether it be for doing things or for company. Although the argument can be made that if companionship is part of the human experience so is loneliness.
College and living at home are two completely different ball games. Whether it be the constant chaos of my family at home that brings me a strange sort of comfort compared to the quiet of being in my dorm alone or having options for food at the dining halls as opposed to eating my family’s choice of meal, I have come to appreciate both sides of life.
I’m not sure if any of you relate, but it can be hard to accept that you will always have moments in life when you are alone. Getting comfortable with this is proving to be quite a challenge, but I know that the next three years of my life will help in preparing me to be just a little bit more of an adult.
Now that I have divulged to you my inner thoughts and feelings, I feel it is time for me to sign off before I do any more emotional damage. With that, I wish my fellow freshman good luck and God’s speed.