Oh boy. Here we go, the big one.
Let me warn you now, this is going to be a long post. A lot happened during my senior year of college or was the starting point of things that happened quickly after graduating. So grab your favorite tea and lets dive in.
First, let me explain how my senior year of college started. I was coming in off the high of having an amazing Junior year. The exception of some relationship red flags with my then boyfriend, everything was set up for an incredible final act of college. And then life happened. Just before the start of the school year, my mom was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer and my dad was having major reconstructive surgery on his neck. I tried to not let these two major things have a major impact on my life and school but they did. Along with that, I had a consistent feeling of dread about my then boyfriend of three-ish years. I’ll get into that along the way.
The Housing Experiment
Despite my better judgement about what I knew I needed to succeed, I moved into a six person apartment in what was known as The Gables on campus. Honestly, despite going back to sharing a space, I was excited for this little housing change. The apartment itself was fantastic and it felt like a great first step into trying to prepare for life after college. Especially since I thought I was going to be moving in with friends or my boyfriend after graduation. Almost everything seemed fine at first.
Upon moving into this apartment, I was already a little irritated. Despite housing rules (and I’m a stickler for rules when breaking them causes fucking problems) saying guests could only stay for some many days, the twin sister of one of my roommates moved in with us. For a while. And oh fuck, she was messy. Even long after she moved out, we were still finding her moldy food and whatever else she left in in apartment. It left a bad feeling in my gut from there about the roommates in the middle bedroom, who I wasn’t a fan of anyways despite being in the same friend group.
Tip #1: Go with your gut. If you haven’t learned this already, now is the time to learn it. If your gut is telling you not to agree with something or that you don’t like someone, listen to it. I had this feeling constantly and I wish that I had listened to it more. I probably could have been happier in the long run.
The housing situation only seemed to get worse as the weeks went along. Sure, there were good times and we all had fun but the majority of the time, I was just tolerating what was happening. There was a lot of talking shit, from myself included, and an unfair distribution of chores being done. Communication was pretty much zero in a lot of cases by the end of the first semester. Personally, I had a lot happening in my personal life and then, to make things worse, I felt alone in what was supposed to be my home for the year.
Tip #2: Communicate. I know this is either the easiest thing or the most difficult but communication is key. Especially if you’re living with the people you don’t want to communicate with. With the roommates that I had my senior year, I eventually reached a point where I didn’t even want to try. I tried to be out of the apartment as much as I could and got into the habit of burning bridges. Now, in retrospect, I wish I had tried a little harder. I’m not completely sorry, but maybe just a little about how things ended.
What I learned from this “housing experiment” is that I, at least, should never live with all girls. It never works out for me. I also learned that I definitely need a space that is mine. Sharing, especially as I’ve gotten older, isn’t necessarily harder it causes other problems. Not having my own space to retreat to ended up bringing out some bad mental issues that I was unaware of before. Or, if I knew about them, made them so much worse. You have to stand up for yourself and your needs.
This is a good point to stop and say, I of course have more to say on the subject of housing and could go into more detail about all of the problems that occurred but then this post would quickly turn into a novel.
As I said at the start of this post, I started my senior year with my parents having serious health problems and having a lot of red flags about my boyfriend. I generally dealt with these personal demons, as they would become, on my own. Especially after the incidents, which are as follows.
One night, I had been talking with two of my roommates about a call I had had with my mom about when her mastectomy would be. She has a lot of other health issues that made this incredibly risky and so, as you would expect, I was stressed about this next step. I was trying to explain this to the more christian girls who then basically told me that God must think my family deserves this. What. The. Fuck. That seriously sent me over the edge and had me asking what the fuck, even years later! I recently was hanging out with a friend and her roommates, who had lived with said christian girl at one point. They confirmed for me that she was that kind of person. Happy that bridge was torched.
Along with sister christian telling me that my family deserved what we were going through, I often walked in after class to hear two roommates talking about me and my relationship. Sometimes saying some pretty nasty things. Now, I knew things weren’t going great between the two of us. I often regret having stayed in that relationship for so long and now realize how much it fucked me up. That being said, don’t talk about someone like that behind their back. Or in a common area where they just might hear you when they get home from class. Hearing this is what finally fully caused me to give up and do whatever I could to not be in the apartment.
Tip #3: Do what is right for you. This probably goes against other things I’ve said before but you come first. If you need to start cutting people out because they are toxic to you: do it. I’ve recently seen a lot of posts about realizing that you may think you’re a good person but you are most likely the bad guy in someone’s story. No one is perfect.
These problems and anger eventually manifested in anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. I had never felt more alone and everything that I had been pushing down was finally coming up.
Tip #4: Get Help. I didn’t take my own advice here and suffered alone and, usually, in silence. I figured that I didn’t want to be anyone’s burden. Especially since when I did turn to people to help, I was often shrugged off. Don’t be me, get help when you need it. See a counselor, talk to people you trust. Don’t suffer alone.
So I was starting to head into a meltdown. With everything going on and going wrong around me, I needed to get out and hit refresh. This is where the highlight of my college career comes into the big spotlight: Callie. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that she comes up fairly frequently. Maybe as often as my boyfriend, Tim. Callie and I had become friends during my junior year but really went full force during my senior year. She was the main person to help me not just drop out and head home to safety.
Meeting and choosing to spend time with someone who wasn’t toxic to me was exactly who and what I needed. She even offered for me to move in with her at one point but, stupidly, I said no. I was at her place quite a bit though as the school year went on. Callie was my wake up call and the first real friend I had at UNH who I truly clicked with. She wasn’t just a friend out of necessity. Callie was a true friend.
Tip #5: Make good friends. When I say this, I mean it. Make friends who you don’t just know well. Make friends who are good for you. Callie is my one good friend from college. She’s almost like my sister at this point, to be honest. I’d tell her anything and be there whenever she needs me and I know she’d do the same.
Know Your Limits
This will be the final section for this post since it is getting way too long.
Know your limits. I pushed myself hard senior year. Sometimes too hard. I was talking more classes each semester because I thought it was the right thing for me to do. I learned, especially during the fall semester to know when something was too much. I dropped a class if I could afford to. I went home when I needed to recharge and be with my family. I took time for myself.
Tip #6: Know You. Only you can know when you’ve reached your limit. Do self check ins and know when you’re stretching yourself too thin.
Phew. We made it to the end! Want me to continue this series? Share a topic and I’ll write a college story relating to it!
Believe in yourself and know what you need, college is just a step to being who you are meant to be!