This post originally appeared August 21, 2014, as a column in the Shamokin News Item, by Jenna Wasakoski, PCA&D '99, who wrote it to encourage a young friend who was embarking on her own college experience. Jenna.is an assistant editor at The Shamokin News-Item. Jenna says, “My degree and what I learned at PCA&D was very valuable” Since graduating from PCA&D with a degree in communication arts, she has won two Keystone Press Awards, a contest sponsored by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, for page design. Her weekly column runs in various news publications throughout the state.
Great Things Await You - Part 2.
As I got deeper into school, slowly, things started to shift.
I would come home much less often; rather, I'd have my "friends from home," as they were now referred to as, come down and visit me. My parents would visit and we would go out to eat or go shopping.
It was slowly becoming my world instead of a strange world in which I felt displaced.
I learned a lot from my professors, but more importantly, I learned a lot about myself and life as I then knew it.
Some friendly advice:
You may hate it
You may hate it, yes, but it's likely temporary. Change is very scary, but change opens the door to great things. Give it some time. For some, it may honestly not be the right fit and a new plan may be in order, but for most, it's just a matter of getting settled in and getting into your own groove.
Really. The best thing you can do to meet people and establish new friendships is to be yourself. Life seems to align us with those who we mesh well with, so let those friendships be the security blanket you may need until you get over missing home. You don't have to be best friends with these people for life, but companionship and camaraderie will give you as sense of that safe place you're longing for.
You completely owe it to yourself to have fun while you're in college. I don't feel the need to tell you about studying hard and getting good grades, that should be a given, but allow yourself time to unwind.
Whether it's shopping with newly established friends or going on adventures to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, get your nose out of a book once in a while and enjoy yourself. Your grades are a top priority, but don't punish yourself by studying 24-7; reward yourself for all your hard work.
Things may fall apart
YOLO has a lesser known and far less annoying cousin named FOMO: fear of missing out.
Don't get so wrapped up in what's going on back home with your "real friends" that you lose focus on where you are. Your life back home is always going to be there. Granted, it may not always be the same.
At times in our lives, we come to turning points. Gears shift, things change, people change. Friendships we thought would last a lifetime do not. They change. It kind of sucks, but you'll find that you and some of your friends will go their separate ways and never look back.
But that's OK
It makes room for new people who, I believe, all come into your life for a reason. It doesn't mean there has to be any ill will involved in letting go of close friendships; it just happens.
Look at you, being an adult.
At a certain point, you'll look back to that first week or the time before you left and roll your eyes. It's hard to foresee what's to come when you're filled with uncertainty, but your path will eventually illuminate and you'll find direction as to what's in store for the future. You'll have to make a lot of tough decisions along the way, but you'll make it.
Not unlike college, being an adult is scary. I've kind of gotten the hang of it, but I'm still not sure I'm very good at it. Nevertheless, it's an unavoidable step in an ideal existence.
After all these years, I still miss the comforts of home and high school sometimes, but the feeling of accomplishment I get from utilizing skills I obtained during college to make a living is pretty amazing.
I put growing up into fifth gear during my formative years and in no way could I have prepared myself for the twists and turns that were ahead. If I could give my younger self any advice, it would be to slow down.
Savor the experience of becoming an adult and don't sweat the small stuff. College will help in molding you into the amazing human being you're destined to become. You'll have your triumphs, you'll have your tribulations, but you'll make it.
What feels like an end is only a beginning. You're becoming you and that's a beautiful thing with endless possibilities, so make the most of it.
Great things await you.
Thank you, Jenna Wasakoski, for allowing PCA&D to repost your article. Original story: http://newsitem.com/arts-living/great-things-await-you-1.1739001