Tag Archives: experiences

The Overabundant Emotions of Orientation

What a week it has been! 

Orientations are always a little awkward. New school, new place, new people. I find it extremely stressful. As a rule, I like people. However, the balancing act of making a good first impression (over and over and over again), while scouting potential friends and study buddies, while also attempting to find the bathroom is a little bit too much for me. By the end of the day, I’m exhausted and frustrated and convinced everything went horrendously wrong. Then I wake up the next morning and discover that the world has not, in fact, ended and that I’m energized and ready to try again. After all, it has only been 24 hours. New friends, here I come. 

But it is hard to make friends. First strangers must become acquaintances, and then acquaintances must be developed and nurtured into friends. This can take time. I want immediacy. Frustration creeps in. I start to convince myself that I am not going to make any friends, that I’m isolated…and then I remember. I only met these people 48 hours ago. I need to give it time. 

But you see, it doesn’t feel like 48 hours. It feels like a lifetime. By the end of the day I’m exhausted. I don’t want to attend the optional, evening events my classmates are attending. I don’t want to join them as they go from bar to bar. Their idea of a good time is not my idea of a good time. I start worrying that they will all bond without me but I’m just Too. Dang. Tired. to care. I need alone time to put things back into perspective. It has only been 72 hours. I have 3 years to make friends. 

And so I stress myself out. I worry that I should be more social and then I worry because I don’t want to be social. I’m tired of small talk but I want what small talk can eventually brings…deep conversations. 

How to describe orientation? Bewildering and isolating. And yet…there are those moments that make it worth it. Like exploring the library. I’m so excited about the law library. I could (and probably will!) spend hours down there. There are so many books with dry sounding titles that make my mouth water. I’m so eager to dig into legal theory and jurisprudence that it will be a struggle to prioritize my actual studies of contracts and civil procedures.  I’m not worried though. Those things fascinate me too. I’m going to take advantage of this legal education. 

The law librarians also make orientation better. They are wonderful. So are the professors I’ve met. I can’t wait for them to start keeping office hours so I can drop by and talk. It is hard to stay discouraged when I feel so confident about what I’m doing. The law is definitely the subject for me! The more I hear, the more encouraged I am. I am more and more convinced that this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. 

Friends will come. When not overtired, I’m confident in this too. It will just take time. After all, I have only known them for 4 days.

That is my week in a nutshell. Don’t worry, I’m not nearly as emotionally unstable as I sound! I’m just impatient (and prone to dramatics.) Classes start Wednesday and they are going to be awesome. Blogging is very cathartic. I remember why I used to do this every day. Hopefully you’ll be hearing from me more consistently! 

One Year Later

Roughly a year ago, I graduated from Bryan College. 

*pinches self*

Yup, it is still true. 

It has been a full year…full of travel, friends, and an awesome job. I certainly have been blessed. 

It has been challenging…though in a different way than I expected when I graduated. When I first returned to school  for my final semester in January 2015 after working a “big kid job” for 6 months, I was prepared to struggle with being “just” a student again. I prepped myself for chapel/church requirements, curfew, dress code, cafeteria food, everything. Thankfully, I got a place off campus and the transition was easier than I expected. (That said, going from a salaried position to work study at $7.25/hr was…different.) My final semester was many things, and it wasn’t easy to “transition” back. However, I braced myself pretty well for it. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was the jump back to “adulthood.”  It was a pretty chill semester; I only had to worry about myself. Money wasn’t a big issue. I focused on enjoying my senior year and little else. It was so easy to hand over responsibility and forget everything I learned the hard way. I had a very fun final semester. I don’t regret it.

But then I was back, same job as before, yet somehow different. I was different. It was hard to get back into the old swing of things. I felt like I was constantly tripping over my own feet. I didn’t feel like an adult, I felt like an over-glorified college intern. 

Sometimes, I still feel that way. It took a long time to get out of that mindset. I’m glad I went back and finished my degree. I am glad I had that semester, that final “goodbye.”And yet…sometimes I find myself wondering what I did “wrong.” I wonder how life would have been different if I had just kept working. Or maybe if I had understood at the time how complacent I was getting. Or if I had understood my shifting life stages better during that semester or immediately after.

Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe your first long-term, grown up job is a mental hurdle no matter what your background. Maybe it is a growing up thing; maybe it is a Millennial thing. I don’t know. 

Or maybe I do know, at least in part. I understood when I first moved to Tennessee as a freshman that it would be different. I didn’t know anyone; this was an entirely new environment. I knew when I studied abroad in England that it would be different, again I was venturing to a totally new place. When I returned to school, I understood it as a new “stage.” That didn’t make any of these three stages any less difficult, but I at least had a “box” to put the experience in and sort it out.

However, I didn’t think about coming home after I graduated as a “new” stage. This was a familiar environment and I knew the job I was taking on. I thought of this as a “coming back” instead of a “starting over.” I guess it makes sense that I tripped over my own feet. This wasn’t an extended summer break; this was a new stage entirely. I’ve made new friends, found a new church, readjusted to a new life. I’ve grown roots again. I made it a lot harder for myself, though, because I was busy trying to figure out why all the new didn’t fit into the old context.

Roughly one year ago, I graduated from Bryan College. One year…painful, messy, funny, inspiring, exciting…meaningful. This is my new context as a young adult. Hard but worth it. (So far! 😉 )