I apologize for going MIA for a bit! My life has been crazy these past several weeks. But now I am getting settled in at my new school (Niagara University) and starting to adjust to the grad school life. The job hunt has been less than successful so far, but I am determined to keep searching. In the coming semesters I will be interning and working in the mental health communities in the Niagara area, which I am already so excited for! And I’ve already been in contact with some clubs here at NU (such as Active Minds and TWLOHA), and can’t wait to get involved on campus. Because of the Labor Day holiday, I’ve only had one of my classes so far (Intro to Counseling), and don’t have class again until Monday evening. I had a job interview with Wegmans (grocery store) this morning, so I’m crossing my fingers on that one. So right now, I’m just playing the waiting game in several regards.
I thought coming to grad school would be a piece of cake, emotionally. I’ve already done the big college transition, and—heck—I moved to London for a semester! Moving a few hours away should be a cinch. But I always have a bit of difficulty transitioning to a new environment. I always have trouble leaving my friends and family behind. I’m sure I will make friends here soon, but I can’t help but to dwell on the Ithaca friendships that I built up for four years. And given schedules and prices, visiting is not as plausible as I had originally hoped.
I feel like a freshman again, in a lot of ways. I don’t know this campus. I don’t know how its dining hall works. I don’t know the fastest route to the bookstore yet. And the parking lots make NO sense to me. All the buildings look the same and all of the faces that I pass, though friendly, are unfamiliar.
But there is a difference between who I am now and who I was four years ago. I have done this before. My freshman year of college was rough. When I got lonely and homesick, I just hid in my room and kept to myself. I let all of those negative feelings take over everything. And I certainly paid for it. But now, because I have transitioned a few times before, I know that this feeling always passes eventually. And if I just keep fighting it, and pursuing the things I love, it will fade even faster.
To be honest, my instinct is to hide away, just like I used to. Going out of my way to e-mail club presidents is actually an emotional effort for me, silly as that may seem. When my hall-mates ask me if I want to join them to dinner, my reflex is to say no. But I have been forcing myself to do the things that I know will help me in the long run. I see the big dark hole in my room, and I actively make the decision not to climb in it… even though it looks safe and comfortable.
So while my feelings are very similar to what that 18-year-old felt when she moved into Ithaca College four years ago, I won’t slip down the same path that she did. Niagara seems like a great place, with a warm and friendly community. I don’t want to miss out on any socially beneficial opportunities that could really help me in the long run. So while it’s easy to feel like everything is going to happen just like it did before, I know that I am taking different paths, and so will end up in a different place.
I’ve been realizing more and more as I get older how much we can really impact our own lives. That probably sounds like a “duh” statement. Of course we impact our own lives! More than anyone! But, I really think that sometimes we don’t recognize the tools that we have to make ourselves stronger when things start to look bleak. It’s not always easy; sometimes it even seems impossible to help ourselves. But every bit of effort that you put into your personal mental and emotional state does make a difference. If something feels pointless, or if you feel like you know exactly how something is going to go, still don’t give up. There will always be surprises in life. The potential is infinite. Even when there is an outcome that is far more likely than the rest, you still never know. And when it comes to personal happiness in particular, never stop trying. Darkness, weakness, vulnerability… they can all pass and they can all be overcome. Learn from others, learn from articles and textbooks, but most importantly learn from yourself. I’m trying really hard to do this. And I really believe that it will pay off.
Lead Her Intern, Campus Calm™