Tag Archives: college

The Debilitation of Loneliness

12 Nov

I’ve been in a very strange place as of late.

I’m currently more than half way done with the fall semester of my sophomore year at college and I’d been thinking that things have been decent overall, all matters of privilege and opportunities considered. I’m on route to discovering what I want to do with my life, I have a good amount of extracurriculars, and my classes are going reasonably well. But this whole semester, the same question has sprouted up, time and time again: who am I?

I’ve always held the belief that in life, you don’t find yourself; you create yourself. But I’ve felt such a disconnect lately from the things I’ve always told myself that I wanted, and what I am currently passionate about. I’m left feeling unsure of who I am, who I want to become, and how I can go about becoming that person.

Earlier today, I had a moment of stunning clarity: I am very lonely. I’ve only been slightly cognizant of this fact the entire semester, but shook it off because the feeling came and went and I told myself to focus on the moments when it was gone. But now I realize that when I step back and examine what my life has been these past few months, I haven’t been living; I’ve merely been surviving day by day. I became so complacent in my routine that I hadn’t even realized how meaningless it sometimes was. It was the mundane tasks that I occupied myself with; go to this class. Then go grab a to-go box for lunch. Then go here. Then you have some free time to spend in your room on the computer. Stepping back, it all seems so tedious and unfulfilling. I barely see the friends I made last year. Things have been rocky with the friends I had from before. My brain feels like such a jumble sometimes and I can barely figure out where to even begin in order to sort it out.

I don’t think I have depression. But I think because I have been subconsciously refusing to acknowledge how lonely I’ve been, the negative emotion has been leaking out in more general ways. I’ve constantly felt unmotivated, unenergized, and dulled down. I’ve been focusing so much on the exterior package of how others perceive me, and I analyze every aspect of myself constantly to make sure there are no cracks in the image. I’m so controlled that sometimes I feel like my body is a puppet, and I am observing myself interact with others within my mind and approving the things I say as I say them. When people ask me questions, such as how I am doing, sometimes I feel that instead of being genuine, I say what I want to be true, or what I think others will want to hear. I think I may occasionally answer that way because I don’t even know how I’m doing; everything feels distant and dulled. It all blends together as the same. I’ve been lacking passion and excitement, and I am now considering that this all ties into how I have been having less human contact lately, or at least meaningful human contact. I feel tired very often; if I were asked to take a nap at any time of the day, I would probably be willing.

Usually I try to write my blog posts in a way that allows me to vent and then wrap it up by considering some options to solve the problem. I’m not sure I know how to do that, though. The obvious answer is to make more efforts to spend time with friends, and seek out meaningful interactions as opposed to unfulfilling, fleeting moments. But I’m worried that I don’t really know how to meaningfully interact with others, at least not right now; how can I share with others the core of who I am, if I am not even sure of that myself? How can I describe my passions, my aspirations, and my day-to-day affairs if they just feel like words that spill from my mouth by habit, rather than interest?

I might write a follow-up soon, now that I’ve become cognizant of all this and can start sorting through it internally. I guess for now, I’m going to seek out more outlets to make my life meaningful as opposed to following routines that have become comfortable but aren’t fulfilling.

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Floating

25 Oct

To be honest, the first thought that came in my mind when I decided to write this was “Ugh. Like clock-work, here comes my biyearly angst ridden blog post.” And still here I sit, at 1:30 a.m. in my dorm room, typing. And since I have yet to write a proper college post, I owe it to my (..3?) faithful readers to update as well as share (cough, complain about) aspects of my life now.

I’m doing well at college. Sure, my grades are a bit rocky right now, but at least I can connect it to my study ethic that still hasn’t quite developed. I want to read more and I’ve watched way more How I Met Your Mother than I’d care to admit in the past few weeks, but I haven’t hit rock bottom or anything. My classes aren’t awful, the food is decent, my dorm room has never felt more homey, and my social groups are diverse and interesting. Even the showers aren’t so horrifying anymore.

My problem, which is the root of this blog post, has more to do with my social woes. Before coming to college, I never really considered myself as shy. I knew that I wasn’t the best at making conversation, but I spent so much time being talkative around familiar people that I convinced myself that I was only a bit quiet until one gets to know me. But now that I’m surrounded by so many new people, I’m realizing more than ever that yes, I am the epitome of shy. Shy doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t know how to speak in front of others, or that they are terrified of others; this was the social norm I had been using to define the word to avoid its application to myself. But the truth is, shy simply means someone who is quite quiet unless spoken directly to, intimidated by larger groups and one to hold their tongue often in front of new people.

I’ve met a lot of people here at school. I’ve made a lot of friends, too. But the problem is that I don’t feel as though I’ve really connected with them. I’m starting to fear that by lacking the ability to hold proper, one-on-one conversations with people has given me a shallow relationship with everyone I’ve befriended so far. This may seem backwards, but because of my social ineptness, I’m more comfortable with a group of 3-6 than with only one other person. With a larger group (of people I know, of course), the tone is always light and joking. It’s always fun and there are more people to fill silent gaps. This definitely means that it takes much longer for everyone in the group to become close to one another, but that’s how I made all of my high school best friends-over a very long amount of time. When I have to be alone with another person, it makes it so much more difficult.

Watching other people develop close relationships so quickly, to tell the truth, has been extremely hard. Social groups have already gotten very connected, and social media makes it so much worse when every facet of new, deeper connections are shown off every day. I’m not a very open, vulnerable person (the thought that a new friend could be reading this right now makes me want to crawl into a hole). I can’t ‘share life stories’ or discover inner secrets a couple weeks into knowing someone; I expose myself a piece at a time, potentially over years. It’s not like I have some huge secrets to reveal or anything, but the idea of seeming weak or needy or even whiny to someone I don’t know that well yet is horrifying. I don’t like to attract attention to myself in general, because I could be judged or embarrassed or ostracized forever (this contributes to the initial shyness thing).

I like having a few, close friends, as opposed to a large group of distant friends. But in a community where it feels like (at least on the surface) every one else is making large groups of close friends, I don’t quite know how to handle that. I hate going to things, even dinners, that I wasn’t invited to. I hate hearing stories about places I wasn’t at, seeing pictures of people I didn’t hang out with, and even conversations I wasn’t made a part of. Intrinsically I feel like I should be trying harder, changing something about how I interact with others, but I also don’t want to try too hard. I don’t want to change my personality in order to achieve something. I guess now I have to find the line between going out of my comfort zone, and not compromising my true self.

Well, this was quite a long and venting rant post. I’m pretty sure a lot of random things got thrown in and it’s chaotic, and a little (a lot) embarrassing if it were to get in the wrong hands. But now I’m curious if anyone else has been in this kind of social standstill. Let me know if you also have trouble connecting with others on a deeper level, and feel free to let me know how you’re doing in general!

Late Night Ramblings of a Sleep Deprived High-Schooler

24 Jan

The time was 1:40 a.m.

I had just finished my homework and was heading downstairs to print everything when I decided to take a look outside. My mom told me it had snowed, and that we might have a school delay tomorrow, but I hadn’t put too much faith in it because no snow days had really come through for us this year. But as I padded down the stairs, I slowed and took a look through my window: everything was covered in a thin layer of white. It was beautiful, and so calm. Not a single print had been made in the snow-the entire street and neighborhood was untouched. There was a blanket of snow covering everything with pristine whiteness. I cracked the door open, just to see it without the window’s obstruction; the outside was as silent as the inside of my house of sleeping family members. I felt like the entire world was resting, and I relished in the feeling of it just being me alone in this unmarked world, for even just a moment. It made me feel poetic (although this post is anything but) and it felt like the one of those moments where you just stop what you’re doing, and appreciate. Appreciate anything and everything-the beautiful things around you, having a roof over your head, access to an education…it doesn’t matter. It’s just so important to slow down and take it all in, whenever life is trying to pull you into a whirlwind.

As I am now on the brink of being done with the worst part of the school year, I think this is a good time to start re-evaluating things that are important to me. I look forward to taking it a little bit easier for the rest of the school year, and really create who I want to be and what mind-set I want to have before I set off for college. I can’t wait for the adventures life has yet to take me on, but I’m content with where I am now-all aspects of life are important and I don’t want to rush anything without getting the full value of it. High school is almost done, but I can still learn some valuable lessons while I’m here!

It’s about 2 a.m. now…and admittedly, this is quite a strange post. Hopefully school will be delayed tomorrow though! Hope you all are well.

Life…Purpose and Direction

1 Dec

So life has been kind of rough lately.

College deadlines are fast approaching, grade pressures are at an all time high, and anxiety permeates every part of my and other senior’s lives. I’ve been feeling like crap for the past few days and have cried more than I have in the past few months combined…and yet I can’t pinpoint an exact reason.

The SAT Subjects tests aren’t that important. I know that.

Grades aren’t worth beating myself up about them. I know that.

Application essays aren’t the deciding factor of my admission or my life. I know that.

And apparently, the college I go to for undergrad doesn’t even really matter that much. So why do I always spiral into never-ending whirlpools of self-loathing, fear, and doubt? Because when everything is individualized, I acknowledge that each is not life-or-death important. But once everything is combined, it’s suddenly a collection of my inadequacy. It’s proof on paper of how I can never be good enough, right there alongside my pathetic compilation of barely completed essays.

I know no one wants to read a self-thrown pity party. I am however going to take a segway real quick and try to figure out who I am really doing all this for-does my need for success stem from needing to please others, or myself?

I don’t think I really strive for success to please my parents-I’m actually getting a little fed up with their method of parenting. Neither of my parents really put any effort into seeing how I’m doing in school. Besides continually asking how much homework I have each night, they never prompt more when I always answer “some”-which is perhaps why I never offer more myself. They don’t inquire about upcoming tests or quizzes or help me with homework and studying, but still reprimand me when my grades aren’t so great. Today my father interrogated me on how much of my SAT review book I had gone through-an hour after I had already taken the test. As their child, I’m not a machine where they can press a button and expect a prize to come out without any effort on their part. They care, yet they don’t try. And regretfully, that attitude has been passed on to me.

I also don’t really feel like I’m mature enough to be aware if I strive for greatness for myself. When I picture getting 100’s in all my classes, I imagine pure joy. Yet when I snap out of the daydream, I don’t feel any renewed motivation to try harder in school. I don’t use stress as a motivator to push myself harder; stress to me is instead like a bulldozer, crushing me into the ground while I remain helpless. I don’t know if I’m simply unable to turn anxiety into a good thing, or if I just don’t because everything seems too hard-but every time I question whether I’m trying enough, I assure myself that it’s just laziness, which makes me feel even worse.

When I imagine getting into a bad school, all that comes to mind is all of my peers getting into better schools. That’s all I’ve become consumed with-not the value of my own education, but whether it’s good enough compared to everyone else’s. I do things to prove to myself and others that yes, I am capable. If I do bad on a test, I don’t feel bad if I know I still did better than everyone else in my class. I don’t live by looking at my life-I live looking at everyone else’s.

Anyways, what I’ve come to realize is that this mindset needs to stop. I don’t know where my self-confidence went, if I ever even had any at all, but I cannot let negativity permeate into my future, especially in college.

Everyone has felt inadequacy before. But what one does with his or her past is what defines his or her future. Whatever I do from this point forward, it should be for me. And I need to set some goals-and start coming up with reasons for why I strive to achieve them.

I hope that if any of you can empathize with my emotions here, that even if I can’t admit it to myself yet, you come to realize that nothing is worth too much stress. You do have self-worth and if you’re in the same habits as I am, stop comparing yourself to other people around you. College application season makes everyone painfully aware of the competition around them, and simply looking at people supposedly better than you is just taking a lit match to your own self-esteem.

My best regards for anyone feeling pressured, and I invite you to drop me a comment so I can see how many of you share the same feelings! As always, thank you so much for reading (:

Stress/Procrastination

27 Mar

Picture from Google ImagesThis is a feeling everyone can relate to. When life just builds up, and there are so many different pressures on you that you feel close to a breaking point. And right now, my stress is school.

Further away, I mean the immense pressure put on all children to get into a good college in order to get a good job. This leads to overbearingly difficult classes, extracurriculars, and tons of studying. I’m currently taking a few difficult classes and I am not looking forward to next year when I take 4 AP’s which include an incredibly hard calculus class. And right now, life isn’t too great either. As I write this, I’m putting off studying for two huge tests tomorrow, writing a paper, and doing a long/tedious history ‘essay’ type assignment. And guess what? It’s all for tomorrow. I guess letting this all out on my blog is a way for me to clear my mind.

Which brings me to my next topic; procrastination. I’m a horrible sufferer of procrastination, and I can never seem to stop. I guess I’m just very lazy and have a hard time pushing myself until I get to a desperate ‘deadline’ point. It hasn’t gotten to where I’m struggling to finish things the day of, in school. There are many people at my school who do that and it doesn’t look fun. Also, I never really stay up past 11 and in most extreme cases, 11:30. So looking at the facts, I guess I’m not too bad with doing my work but it still feels like procrastination strikes me hard. I’m going to try to work on that, and hopefully once I publish this I can get back to work.

Does procrastination afflict any of you? Are any of you in high school and really feeling the pressure, like I am? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

**UPDATE** I think it’s been about an hour, and I’m still procrastinating. Sigh. >_< I think the time switch from a while back made it worse. I see how bright it is outside and think ‘Oh I have plenty of time! It’s still light outside!’ Then BAM, it’s 9 o’ clock and I’m screwed.