After graduating high school I did what all incoming college freshmen do: I packed up a few belongings and moved them into a small, cramped room. High school had been a nightmare for me, so I was excited and relieved to get a fresh start. I was fully prepared to take on college life – or so I thought.
I arrived at my room in Terrace Hall, which is now a parking lot on the north side of campus, and met my roommate for the first time. I was slightly nervous about moving in with someone I didn’t know and had never spoken with, but I thought it could be an exciting experience. When I finally met my roomie – we’ll call her Lily – I was completely creeped out. I try not to judge people based on fashion sense (God knows I have none), but she did wear spikes around her neck and wrists. It wasn’t just her appearance: I think it probably had more to do with the posters depicting death scenes that she’d hung all over the walls.
My parents helped me get situated then left me to get acquainted with Lily, who I soon learned was a quiet girl who barely left the room. When we were in the room together, she would simply sit and stare at me. It was especially awkward when my boyfriend came to visit because we never had any privacy. I also had the only computer and TV in the room, and she was constantly using them both – when she wasn’t busy giving me the stare-down.
Outside the residence hall, my family and I were dealing with the financial issues college often creates. What’s more, I hated my classes and felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I’d come to Kent without any friends, as the few I’d made in high school had scattered to other universities across the state and the country. Once again, I felt completely alone, as I had throughout most of high school. College wasn’t turning out to be the “fresh start” I had hoped for.
After two weeks, I packed up and left. I’d begun to think that perhaps life on a big college campus just wasn’t for me. I felt scared and alone, so I decided to give up.
I came back to the Kent campus two years later and realized that leaving was one of the biggest mistakes I’d made. When I left, I thought college was going to be the same nightmare high school had been, but I now realize I gave up way too soon. I never really gave it a chance.
Since my return, I’ve made amazing friends, and I’ve finally found a place where I feel I fit in. I really regret my decision to leave because I’ve missed out on so many great memories with wonderful people – people I would have met much sooner had I given college life a chance from the start.
My advice? Learn from my mistake and give college a real chance before you decide to give up. Otherwise, you’ll never know how many great memories you could be missing out on.
Kristen Russo is a senior magazine journalism major and managing editor of the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]