I have been doing some serious thinking lately. Being in college, I have the opportunity to do such quite a bit, but this is a little different. More like in-depth psycho analysis, the best that I can having never studied psychology before (damn me for dropping my 6th period class last year).
Nothing here is easy. This is my love/hate relationship with the place. Well, in truth, it is about 80% love/20% frustration. My subconscious and conscious minds are finally catching up with one another and comparing notes, and I think that is where all this extra emotion is coming from. It has just come to me in the past week or two, to the point where I can express it clearly, just how different everything is. It is not necessarily the obvious things, either. The city does not bother me, nor the weather. Those are two of the things that I am most enjoying. It is the smaller things that have been slowly creeping into my psyche and wreaking havoc with my emotions. That being said, I would not call myself unhappy, or even unstable. Obviously, after having gone back and read my last post, I would think I was depressed as hell. But the thing is that I write to purge my brain of my worst thoughts, and once I get them out I feel ten times better. I write them down so that I do not have to burden other people with them in normal social situations. Writing is my cure.
Once I get things out, they seem less important, less bothersome, and all the more manageable. I can be my own shrink if I can figure out what is actually bothering me, which is why I write them down. I have always found that by sitting and writing, I can find out so much more about myself than days of hard thinking.
Things that are beginning to bother me (consciously) that I am now just realizing that I took for granted while at home:
1. Lack of personal space. At home I had my room and my car to go to whenever I damn well pleased, listen to my music, and relax with my own thoughts. With a roommate, this becomes infinitely more difficult. Sharing a room with another person and a city with 8 million other people is definitely a change. Now that I think about it, I didn't even really spend that much alone time in my room at home. It was mostly the car. Ten minutes of alone time from one place to another really allowed me to gather my thoughts.
Before the comments come pouring in about me being the one that chose this, I am not arguing that I should be living elsewhere. I am acknowledging that a lack of personal space bothers me, but I am getting used to it. I could have had a single room, but there would be so much that I missed out on. As certain things about having a roommate are driving me crazy, I love Sara to death. I am happy that I am forcing myself into the box that I am in because I don't assume that I will be able to get out of it very soon. The sooner that I can learn to live with other people, the sooner I will actually be prepared for life. I would love to live in a lovely little apartment all by myself, but I really don't think that is safe, healthy, or economically practical in any of the places in the world that I plan on spending extended periods of time.
2. Lack of acceptance of my ideas. I chose to come to one of the most diverse, politically motivated, ambitious colleges in the world, which means I am not longer simply accepted for who I am, what I am, how smart I am. Everyone is smart here, everyone has good ideas here (however radically different), and the most popular question is "why?" Why, why why. I have never had to have so much evidence and background for my simple opinions in my life. The most basic observations like "Things are different here" bring on counter statements, "why? how? really?" Sometimes I just want to scream, "yes, really! Don't you understand me!?!? I have never lived in a city, without anyone I know, in a room with someone else, not in control of anything that goes on in my life!!" But instead, I just state "yes" and enumerate the things in my life that have changed since August (everything). It is frustrating to have everything I say challenged by friends, peers, teachers, and random people that I barely know. But at the same time, it makes me think carefully about what I say. I try to make sure that I know what I am talking about. I gain perspectives on life that I never knew existed.
3. Lack of support net. I miss my parents and my family. I have been getting a little homesick the past week or so, probably because Sara has been talking to her family so much because of the fires and such. Also, when I was here during midterms last year I remember a girl telling me that this was the time that everyone sort of realizes that they are really away from home for good. The novelty has worn off, and the real transition has begun. I have kept this in the back of my mind for an entire year, fighting it so hard. I was so determined to make it past this point without getting homesick that I think I psyched myself into it. Now that I realize that, however, I know that it is something that will pass. Thanksgiving is almost upon us. The stress of midterms shall pass soon. I don't see this as being a long-standing problem, just a fleeting feeling telling me that I cannot do a 180 degree transition in life without ever thinking to the past. I am not the kind of homesick that really wants to go home or is going to sit and cry about it at night. I am just coming to terms with my new life, wondering where I am going, thinking about where I came from (and also missing Peet's coffee...so bad. This damn coffee here is terrible, and there are no vegan gingers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Now, after that, I feel so much better. I shall post it, and probably go back and read it later today or tomorrow and realize how utterly ridiculous I sound. How many times did I use the phrase, "I realize that..."?? Sure I have come to a lot of realizations, but surely I could find a better synonym? Alas, I cannot sit here and reminisce all day. I actualy have work to do. Although I believe I am learning just as much through the above as I am in class, I am at Columbia for a reason. The overachiever in me will not be silenced. That is one part of me that has not changed a lick.