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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Just last week, the guest speaker in my Honors Forum class, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, mentioned the subject of challenges. He talked about the challenges you are likely to face as a freshman: workload, diet, scheduling overload, and the other basic challenges that come with living on your own for the very first time.
The VP went on to say that in fact he hoped we faced challenges in our college career, because that is truly the only way to grow. If you do not have to overcome obstacles of some sort, you really aren’t learning. When I heard this, I had some vague idea of what he meant, but I didn’t realize how much I was going to need to lean on those words in the coming days.
Since that speech, I have faced a set of challenges that I have really never dealt with before, and have had to overcome them with ways that at first, felt uncomfortable to me.
Loneliness has been the biggest (and admittedly the most embarrassing) obstacle I’ve had to face so far, and it was also one of the hardest to beat. After all, you can’t really always change who you are around. Anyway, my roommate moved out, leaving me in the dorm by myself, stranded on a floor of girls I don’t know and only see in passing. While I do know a few on a first-name basis and speak to them, they aren’t the people I hang out with. I hadn’t realized how much I counted on my roommate for companionship until she was gone.
Since then, I literally had to force myself to come back to school, to be brave about coming “home” to a cold, concrete room at night. It was truly grueling. And on top of that, I’ve faced challenges with my writing, which means the world to me.
As a writer for StyleQuirk, I follow a different set of requirements than I would as a writer for the newspaper here at school. And as a result of that, it’s hard for me to understand exactly what the newspaper wants, because I haven’t had the classes required for that yet: reporting, classes about the writing style used, etc.
Being alone coupled with facing a completely new set of writing challenges has had me down in the dumps for days. This isn’t even to speak out my two trips to the hospital during the past week!
But of course, I am not here to complain or rant or make you feel sorry for me. Quite the opposite! What I want to tell you is that you will face the suckiest, screwiest, and depressing challenges that perhaps you have ever faced. And that’s okay! As the VP of academic affairs mentioned, you can’t grow unless you learn to overcome the challenges in life.
So, what can you do? Everyone’s situation differs, but for me, taking the initiative to sit with people I only sort-of know and reminding myself that everyone has to learn something before they’re good at it has helped.
I got cast in the university play, so I have a group of like-minded people that I’ll be working with every weeknight for the next month or so, which will allow me to branch out and make friends while building confidence and working at something I love.
I also will have to accept the fact that I really don’t know anything about news reporting; all I can do is start learning and building my credibility. If that means taking some time off writing for the paper and reading and learning until I’m good enough to get published, that’s fine! It’s a learning process that many, many more men and women have been through before me, whether they will admit it or not.
So the bottom line is that life is what you make of it, and if you aren’t attempting to overcome your challenges, you’re hiding. And hiding will get you nowhere in life but perhaps under a rock or stuck at home, rocking back and forth, watching re-runs of Happy Days and eating lots and lots of ice cream, which leads to sugar overloads and acne, which will only add to your hiding tendencies. So don’t go down that route, please.
Join myself and the rest of the students who are out there keeping our noses to the grindstones, but remembering to hold our heads high at the end of the day. You won’t always be lonely, having trouble with math class, or having problems eating right or making friends. You’ll overcome those things just like you have many other problems in the past.
Until then, best of luck, and I am all ears for you if you have a problem you’d like to discuss!
Have a great weekend.