If I was asked to describe my first semester in one word it would be: lonely. I’m going to start this off by saying that I am a commuter. Every day at seven in the morning I leave my house and drive to campus and then drive back home around the same time twelve hours later. Of course this is a great way to save money but I was unaware at the time how socially excluded from campus I would feel.
Being a commuter I spend about twelve hours per day on campus and the rest at home. I make the best of my time on campus. I study, do my homework and to feel socially included I go to clubs like Le Cercle Français and Personality Club. But what I was missing was those moments after I would leave campus. While everyone would hang out with friends, meet new people or… partying. I would be home watching Netflix and relaxing by myself. Granted, I do cherish the moments by myself as I need a moment to recharge, I didn’t have someone on campus to whom I could talk to. I did have great friends from high school but when you each choose a different major it is hard to find the time to meet up.
In Neuroscience there are social events. Though they were required for attendance I went to try to talk to people. But it never went well. Here let me show you an example…
”Hey, I’m Jarod how are you?”
”Hi I’m _____ I’m doing well. I’d ask you what your major is but we are all in Neuroscience. But uh where do you live?”
”Oh I commute.”
[awkwardly looks for a way out of the conversation so they walked away]
It is a sad true story.
That really hurt. I felt so out of place afterwards, more lost then before and I felt like that weird person that no one wanted to talk to. Every time I went to one of these neuroscience events afterward I would walk in and walk out because I thought that staying would be a waste of my time. I felt that the only people who I could really talk to were my two best friends who both went to colleges several hours away when I need someone, whom I could talk to in person.
What made my feelings worse was my jealousy of my best friends. They were partying, meeting new people, becoming best friends with their roommates and telling me about it on our weekly phone calls. I loved to hear about the crazy stories but after a while I felt irritated. Every crazy story soon felt like they were bragging about the fun that they were having. I would sit and only listen, barely focusing on their voice while I tried to do something else. They were having the time of their life and I was having the worst. It was the moment of ‘I am the wrong friend to talk about this with.’
I also felt lost with my life. Society and adults in general always ask the same two questions: what is your major? And what are you going to do with it? I felt unsure of the first and never knew the second. I always felt that once you pick a major that was what the rest of your life was going to be… and that scared me. Most neuroscience majors go on to graduate or med school and when we did our four year plans I remember staring at it. It was so overwhelming. All of these boxes with each of these categories for every semester. And of course there was always someone who knew exactly what they wanted, which made me feel less then.
It was until mid October when something clicked. I attended a meeting about majoring in another language held by the department of French and Italian. When they brought up the word Romance Studies I was intrigued. I could learn four languages in the span of four years?! It was a dream come true! And I could double major?! Yes! I realized at this moment that this was what I wanted. I decided to double major in Neuroscience and Romance Studies. I was never a person to be a master one thing but to be a jack of all trades. I could learn about the science of the brain and learn how to talk to someone in multiple languages. I eventually decided that worrying about what I was going to be was less important than who I was going to be. This brought me to think that college will be what I make of it. I wanted to travel, learn about the brain and languages, and I wanted to make friends while doing it. I realized that good things take time and that you need to put in a little effort to make them happen.