Simply Jules: A New Normal

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Ah, change…how I love to hate it. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am a planner, organizer, and detail machine, and nothing satisfies me more than having structure. I like knowing exactly what needs to get done and especially the immense feeling of accomplishment I receive from checking something off my list of things to do. This being said, as you can imagine, college was a land of uncertainty. I couldn’t wait to get going simply so I could know what to expect. (After all, I have wanted to attend since second grade.) The excitement leading up to move-in day was immense.

I arrived, moved in, and said my goodbyes all in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Being a very independent girl, the last thing on my mind was that I would struggle adapting. I thought the transition would be nothing short of effortless, so I was completely thrown off when it wasn’t as easy as I had expected. While the first few days were fun and new, it was quite honestly overwhelming. So many changes occurring simultaneously had me in a tizzy. I found myself desiring routine more than ever. Time and time again, the first few weeks I was asking myself, “Am I doing this right?”

It wasn’t until I talked to my friends who are spread all along the East Coast embarking on their own journeys at college that I realized the exact uncertainty I feared is actually part of the beauty of this phase in life. I recognized that no one knows exactly what they are doing as a college freshman two weeks in. The “fake it till you make it” mentality kicks in and we are all just trying our best. Taking note of this allowed me to see that I do not need to have everything planned and, as a matter of fact, I shouldn’t. I should be taking everything in that I can and focusing on finding what works for me.

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Around the second week in, I began to embrace the “new normal” and, once my mindset changed, I started to really savor this experience. I started living day-to-day as opposed to being daunted by the big picture. In being pushed so far out of your comfort zone, the only ability you have is to grow. It causes you to build new relationships and develop as a person. While it allows you to make your time at school more enjoyable, it also makes you cherish what you leave back at home. Being somewhere unfamiliar forces you to strengthen the relationships you already have because it is an effort to maintain. It allows you to prioritize who in your life is important. The calls home become so much more meaningful, and it wasn’t until I got here that I realized just how lucky I am to have an incredible support group.

As I hit the one-month mark of being on campus, I can honestly say that I feel comfortable. I appreciate the little things in my day, whether it be my cup of coffee in the morning, laughing with a friend, or taking in the beautifully serene views the Hudson has to offer. I have my little routine, my group of friends, and hobbies that I enjoy. I wake up each day excited for what it presents and embrace the challenges that come along with it. So while you will still see a constant stream of sticky note lists adorning my desk, I have definitely allowed myself to realize that it is okay to have some uncertainty.

By Jules Esposito

Jules Esposito