For weeks now, I have been looking forward to this moment. I am sitting in the window seat on my train home to Pennsylvania, listening to Allen stone, and doing one of my favorite things in the world: writing. Most people would think of a 7-hour trip home as exhausting and boring, but for me, these next 7 hours are going to be extremely therapeutic.
During my past month and a half at William and Mary, I haven’t had much time to write. Any free minute I got was spent either catching up on Dancing with the Stars or playing Heads Up with my hallmates, and I wasn’t able to dedicate a solid chunk of time to writing. I’m happy I was present in those moments, but holy moly, I really missed the feeling of spilling my heart out via keyboard.
While I’d love to outline all the crazy, amazing experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks, I’d rather save those stories for my in-person interactions with everyone from home. The one point I want to focus this post on is a theme that has been really prevalent in my past few weeks, and one that has made me have a bit of a paradigm shift: There isn’t enough time in college to mull over your emotions, and I can’t tell if that’s super healthy or super unhealthy.
As someone who takes a really long time to process change, I expected myself to be crying from homesickness every single day for the first few weeks. I thought I would spend all day missing my family and wishing I was home. Luckily, orientation is SO jam packed with activities, and there’s not much time to let yourself get too deep in the feels. You’re forced to talk to people no matter how much you don’t want to, and this gentle forcing distracts you from thinking about all the things you’re leaving behind at home. My homesickness didn’t hit me about until a month in, and even then, it didn’t hit as hard. I really believe that staying busy those first few weeks made all the difference.
This phenomenon applies to physical sickness too. I’ve been sick with bronchitis for the past week, but for some reason, I still have the energy to go to class, to my clubs, and to hang out with friends. In high school, my body would completely give out if I was the least bit sick, but now, I guess my body somehow knows that there’s no time for it to give out on me. Trust me, I know the importance of listening to my body and giving it the rest it needs, but I swear, it just hasn’t told me it wants rest. It’s so weird.
Same thing applies for classes. In high school, I would panic so hard about my first homework assignments and tests of the year, but this time around, I didn’t have time to panic because I knew I had to be productive with the time I had. There was simply no time to dreadfully procrastinate doing homework or studying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much confused about a solid third of the things I learn, but the fact that I don’t have time to unproductively panic feels really helpful.
Not to go too much into my love life, but let’s just say this theme applies to processing breakups too.
Though this new-found “go-go-go” mindset of mine has been really refreshing in some senses, I’m a little terrified of what’ll happen once I finally get to slow down. Part of me worries that once I get home and will be able to reflect on everything that’s happened to me lately, I’ll have a mini crisis. Not that I’ve gone through anything too traumatic, but there have definitely been some emotions (and physical feelings- my voice is nonexistent right now) that I haven’t had time to fully analyze and/or heal from. On the other hand, maybe this difference in mindset is just a sign that I’m growing by learning how to process the highs and lows more effectively. Maybe all the mulling I did in the past was a little drawn out and unhelpful after a certain point.
I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I’ve always believed that you should never put a timeline on yourself for processing emotions. I literally wrote a huge post last year about the dangers of expecting yourself to process your emotions faster than you’re capable of.
While I still wholeheartedly believe that you should be patient with yourself in processing your emotions, you shouldn’t be afraid to let life’s quickness take that burden off your shoulders once in a while. The way I’ll justify all of this to myself for now is this- Jumping to the deep end isn’t worth it if you know you can’t swim yet, but if you feel confident in your swimming abilities, the jump might not be worth it.