It’s like moving from the desert to the ocean
People said that the transition from junior to high school was supposed to be the most confusing time in your life. Nobody mentioned residence life.
Moving out of small town and into a building with 500 other students shares a number of similarities. Everyone knows everyone, and by second semester, almost everything about everyone. If there are secrets, they won’t be kept for long. If you have a crush, they’re sure to find out. If you hooked up last weekend, everyone finds out. If you happened to become extremely intoxicated last weekend, be sure to expect some dirty looks in the cafeteria on Sunday morning.
But moving from a small town, where your love life is limited to scarce resources, and into a building with so many people of the opposite sex (or same sex, if that’s what you’re into), it’s a bit of a culture shock. It’s actually like moving from the desert into the ocean.
I don’t mean in the way you’re thinking. I’ve been best friends with boys since a really young age. I know what it’s like to be around boys – I’m not an alien.
But by culture shock, I mean that establishing yourself to the opposite sex is a lot of work. It’s like a job. You don’t want to come off as too eccentric or too shy. You don’t want to be too fat or too thin. You don’t want to come off as hard-to-get or a complete slut.
This is probably why residence life is so confusing. During the first few weeks here, you meet a bunch of people and you’ll probably never speak to them when you find out who your best friends are. You’ll meet boys and girls who you could never imagine hooking up with, let alone having feelings for. And then you look back in second semester at a picture, or think back to a memory, and you get to thinking… how did we get here?
Try and remember how you met every one of your best friends in residence. It’s a harder job than you think. Some moments were important, and others – not so much, until you look back and acknowledge that in that moment, you met your best friend, maybe even someone you’re crushing on.
It’s confusing that first impressions really do not mean anything in residence. From September to December you’ll become transformed. You’ll emerge as yourself, but a new self. You won’t even know it happens.
It’s confusing to learn how to talk to people, how to break your shell, how to become confident. It’s confusing to learn that people are so care free in university, people have to worry about their grades, not who they’re hooking up with.
People said that the transition from junior to high school was supposed to be the most confusing time in your life. Nobody mentioned residence life. Nobody mentioned staying up until 4am every morning, riding around city streets blasting your favourite music with your favourite people, cramming and studying like never before, drinking ridiculous amounts of alcohol, battling the worst hangovers, crying calling home for money, sitting in your room watching Sex and the City with your girlfriends. Nobody mentioned the shitty cafeteria food that tastes awesome the morning after Saturday, the smiles you get from cute boys as you pass them in the lobby, the rush you get from a text, the awkward conversations, the late night movies.
But most importantly, nobody mentioned how amazing every second of residence life could be unless you let it be. It’s one hell of a transition but it’s one of those things in life that are worth every penny, and every moment.