Let me preface all this by saying that I am not a pussy. My life – while pretty fantastic – has had its fair share of unfortunate events. And I know that I am indeed not a special snowflake, and that many people have it way worse than I do. But believe me when I say this: freshman year was the single worst experience of my life. I, being a confident (read: cocky) young lady, chose to go to a competitive school 500 miles away from everyone I knew. I will spare you the gory details, but I became incredibly sick, resulting in my near-failure of two classes. I spent the rest of the year trying to clean up the academic shit show I had created, all while attempting to be a normal and social human being at my ~nerdy~ school.
Meanwhile, whilst bedridden and sick, I would see circa Snapchat my old high school friends out partying in the familiar neighborhoods of my hometown. Other friends of mine would be out at the bars, posting photos of the exciting new city that they were living in, or obsessively posting Instagrams with their new #soulroommate. Some time after finishing the fourth season of Scrubs and my sixth box of tissues, the terrible t-word snuck into my mind. Transfer. But being the proud girl I am, I powered through and ended my freshman year with a very sub-par GPA and mediocre social life.
Which brings us back to right around this time of year. Classes have wound down, finals have been (hopefully) passed, and freshmen across the nation have caravanned back to the safety of their parents. But first, the obligatory social media post must be made. You can hardly open any app without seeing one of these quasi-adults raving about how #blessed they are and how absolutely fan-fucking-tastic their first year of college was. After reading countless numbers of these posts, I felt like I was hiding a secret as big as Gretchen Wiener’s hair. I hated my freshman year. So when I was inevitably asked about my college experience, I would respond with a vague answer about how I “really liked my sorority” but that the “classes were really hard.”
It wasn’t until I ran into a childhood friend of mine that I made a crucial discovery. Having seen her Snapchats, Instagrams, and Facebook posts, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how her party-filled freshman year went. I was surprised, however, when she looked at me straight in the face and told me that it was the most stressful year of her life. And that’s when it dawned on me: freshman year is supposed to be varying degrees of hell for most everyone. You’re placed in a building with hundreds of new teenagers, given no instructions on what to do with yourself, and also expected to self-learn boatloads of material for classes that you have never even heard of before. Not to mention that you have countless relatives telling you that this will be the best four years of your life, yet your advisors already start breathing down your neck about choosing a major and subsequent career. Oh, and you have access to unlimited alcohol and can join secretive clubs.
So yes, I hated my freshman year. Not everyone does. But what I can guarantee is that very few people LOVED their freshman year — despite what their status updates may say. If you can say that you seamlessly navigated the dining halls, campus, Greek life, classes, boys, and all of your newfound freedom without a few hiccups and mental breakdowns, then mad props to you. But just know that we know that you’re lying. .