By HADLEY BARNDOLLAR
I’m telling you right now, nobody
cares if you were a team captain, honors student or pothead in high school. But that’s the magnificent part about UNH.
It’s a clean slate. One in which your possible new paths stretch ahead for miles with nothing yet marked on them.
But listen to me. My advice will save you from many eye rolls from fellow dorm dwellers.
It’s been over three years since I graduated high school, and each time I come home I get the “you’re so different from back in high school” comment.
“Thank god,” is what I have to say. Thank god I am different. Thank you for noticing my personal growth, and most of all not mentioning my embarrassing past mistakes (can you sense the sarcasm?).
In all seriousness, college gave me the chance to be rid of the restrictions I had been under for most of my teenage life. I felt pressured by the fact that I wasn’t like many of my high school classmates. I hadn’t yet found “my people.” I had different interests, different hobbies.
And let’s not even mention the drama. Drama. Drama. Drama. Leave it behind. There’s no room for it here. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
When my parents drove away on move-in day in 2012, I felt this sense of freedom from being in a new place with no commit
ments and no precedence. No one had any preconceived notions of me. My identity from there on out was solely mine, and of my own creation and exploration.
There were no ex-boyfriends, fake friends or bullies to define me. I was rid of it all. And you should be, too. You should look at your entrance to college as a blank canvas that’s waiting to be decorated. Cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Don’t act like you don’t have a past relationship that’s haunting yo
u or a friend who betrayed you, because I know all of you do to some degree. It’s time to watch them fade to irrelevance in your rearview mirror.
You get one chance at this college thing, so explore that passion you kept hidden from friends in high school. Take a class on something completely unfamiliar. Change your major if you aren’t fulfilled with what you’re studying. This is the time to bow to no one but yourself. There is no time to make decisions based on anyone but you because these four years will carve your path in life. The people you meet, the classes you take and the experiences you encounter will alter your life.
Also, don’t judge. No one (worth knowing) judges here like they did in high school. Mostly because no one cares what other people are doing. Each day we walk to class and pass by each other and silently acknowledge everyone else’s path. Each one is different, and there is no reason to judge. You’ll more than likely become friends with someone you would have never picked in high school.
And remember, that’s a good thing. In fact, that’s a great thing.
You are not better, or more talented or better looking than the person who lives next door to you in your dorm. There’s a niche here
for everyone, and no one’s comparing.
And yeah, there’s very little remaining of the “high school” me. There’s some facial resemblance, but even that’s changed. It’s because my passions exploded and started driving my sense of purpose. I stopped caring about petty things. And you should, too.
I’m not saying follow my path, but rather let someth
ing explode and take over in your life. Something great, something different from what you’ve known before.