The First Year Experience

I suppose it would be most appropriate explaining where I have been these past months. Did anything drastic happen to me? Where was I? What on earth could I be doing?

These past few months have been a time of reflection, of attempting to find balance. Being in college has been an incredible journey, that has allowed me to grow as an individual. College has allowed me the opportunity for independence, and choices. I have the choice of who I want to be, how I want to act, what I am going to say, what I’m going to study, who my friends are, what clubs and activities I am involved in. And to be completely honest, having that kind of power is refreshing but also kind of terrifying. In high school, everything was structured – it was a general curriculum that everyone followed: English, History, Math, Science, Gym, etc.

When I finally arrived on campus as a freshman, I was excited and nervous. What exactly was the college experience? So many people had told me I would love it. That I would enjoy it. That college is the best four years of one’s life.

I felt pressure to have the ideal first year experience. I felt that if I didn’t have the perfect first year experience, it meant that I did something wrong. That somehow I failed – that I was the oddball. But as I talk to more and more people, I realize that each first year experience is different and unique. There is no one “stereo-typical” experience.

For me, as a total introvert and generally shy person, I was scared about putting myself out there but made myself become outgoing anyway. In a way, this kind of backfired. I was able to make connections during my first week or so of college, but it tired me out quickly. Being outgoing and social, fluttering from one social circle to another was exhausting to me. Staying in my room during the weekend to study and do homework instead of going out wasn’t me. It just wasn’t who I was.

And to accept that fact was difficult for me. I felt like in a way, not being extroverted and outgoing, meant that somehow my first year experience was ruined. That I was a failure.

As a sophomore now in college, I look back to my first year and ask myself the question: was my first year experience okay? How would I rate it?

While at first there was definitely a transition from high school to college, once I found my niche – my groove, I did well. I found that I enjoyed smaller groups of friends, that I’d rather enjoy having one or two close friends, that I enjoyed spending time with them by watching movies and playing board games. I learned that joining clubs that genuinely interested me – not because my friend signed up – allowed me to meet others who also had those same interests. In fact, joining a club is such a powerful way to make connections and forge friendships.

At times, I wish that first year me could have instantly understood that each first year experience is different, that as long as you enjoy and own your experience – then it’s okay. But then again, learning and growing to understand that, coming to terms with it, has allowed me to mature as an individual – and maybe that’s what the college experience is all about.

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

The INFJ door slam

The concept of MBTI was introduced to me last year in my first year of college by a friend of mine. When I read my results I was amazed at how accurate they were. I felt like this test was able to understand how my mind functioned, how I functioned. And I didn’t feel completely alone. I discovered there was a wide and expanding community of fellow INFJs and other fans of MBTI. I admit that I’m a bit late to the world of MBTI, but I thought if my words were welcomed, I would write a bit about the aspects of being an INFJ.

Such as a dreaded INFJ door slam.

The reason I decided to start with this concept is because I found that many people are curious. Why does the INFJ door slam happen? What does it look like? Can you bounce back after an INFJ gives you the door slam? 

And I also decided to a say a few words on this because I am currently in the midst of committing a door slam.

I will attempt to answer all these questions in this post. As a small note, all INFJs although there are similarities to us, we are unique in our own ways. Therefore, this blog post will attempt to answer these questions with my INFJ thoughts and opinions.

Why does the INFJ door slam happen in the first place?

These past few days have been unfortunate. I do not commit the dreaded door slam out of malice or hatred. (It should be known that when I do accomplish the door slam, I feel horrible about it-I feel in some ways, a monster.) No, the door slam is my defense mechanism. And pushing someone out of your life abruptly may be selfish, in fact I know that it is, but it is how I protect myself. Understand that the door slam is tactic that I rarely use, but if need be, I will use it.

Why does it occur in the first place? In short, it’s because that person has hurt me. I admit, even though I really don’t want to, that I am a sensitive creature. Perhaps too sensitive. I take my peers’ words to heart, especially those few dear individuals who are my friends. I suppose the issue is that I expect too much out of people, and out of myself. And with those high expectations comes disappointment.

For me, I don’t use the door slam on strangers or acquaintances.  If ever, I use this defense mechanism because someone who I treasured, someone who I valued, hurt me. Not physically but emotionally. They hurt me so much that I am not able to take the emotional abuse they give me anymore. If I feel as though I am the only one investing in this relationship, I will eventually realize that it’s not worth my time. That there is no value in it anymore. It occurs to me that I could be using my energy and time to do something else, invest in someone else.

I say the word eventually because I really am reluctant when it comes to distancing myself from someone who was once so close to me. I have a hard time leaving these relationships because I have hope that something will change – that this person will wake up one day and realize how they have been treating those around them and change. It should be noted that the concept of door slamming isn’t just something I act on immediately. In fact, it may be in the back of my mind for while but never brought to the forefront for some time. (This is probably due to my relentless hope that they will start valuing our relationship.) The concept is something I think about, and think about, and think about some more. It’s carefully thought out, and even, in my case, planned. (Do I completely ignore the person? Do I initiate polite conversation if need be? How do I respond if they start talking to me?)

The door slam is my last resort. It’s the “I have tried so hard to stay by you and be there for you, and I would have stayed with you through ice and fire, have gone to the ends of the earth for you, but I can’t anymore”. It’s the breaking point.

So what does it actually look like?

It can vary depending on the INFJ. In my personal experience, I tend to be extreme. It’s either “I want you in my life” or “I don’t want you in my life”. I realize that this may sound dramatic and silly, but in my own head it makes sense. I don’t want someone who has been so emotionally abusive to be in my life.

I stop contact with you. I distance myself physically. (If we’re in the same friend group I may take a small “break” from the group.) I don’t initiate conversation with you. (When needed I’ll make myself have polite small talk but only if need be.) I won’t take an interest in your activities and your life. I won’t resent you or hate you, nor will I love you – in fact, I’ll feel very neutral about you. In my eyes, that person has become a stranger who was once a dear someone in my life, but nevertheless a stranger at present.

After a door slam has happened, can you ever get back to the good old days?

My short answer: No.

Out of the three door slams that have occurred only one was able to crack the door open again. How? This was after a months of self reflection on both our parts. A lot of self reflection. And then multiple conversations of possibly becoming friends again. And then more self reflection. In short, it was a difficult time. Almost a year had passed, events in our lives had happened, events that each other missed. We had to ask ourselves if we wanted each other in our lives again or if we were content with where we were. We shifted into a friendship, and while I do feel less guilty from my door slamming act, I do not believe that this person and I will ever be as close as we once were. It’s not because I don’t want to be. It’s because so much has transpired between us, and I can’t help but feel guarded around this person regardless if we call ourselves friends or not. Why? Because the fear of being hurt again will always be lingering in the air.

 

Questions? Other concepts you would like to see from the viewpoint of an INFJ? Leave a comment!

Five tips before college begins

It’s a bit crazy to think that summer break is almost over, and that classes will start soon. I even ordered my textbooks a few days ago, which seemed to really solidify the fact that the academic year is truly nearing. With the first day of classes nearing, I offer five tips (I wish I knew before I started college) to those who are beginning their college journey:

1. Invest in a good planner: You might have heard that time management is everything in college. I cannot emphasize enough how important time management is. Sure, you get a small taste of time management in high school, but your time management skills (or the skills you thought you had) are really tested once you enter college. Last year I invested in a monthly planner at the last moment, which served its purpose. It helped me stay on track and informed me of upcoming deadlines. This year however, I invested in a very detailed oriented planner which includes a weekly and monthly outlook. Organization is everything in college. Trust me when I say this: when you’re organized, you feel great.

2. Planner app: This may sound redundant since I just talked about investing in a physical planner, but last year I took the time to download a planner app onto my phone. It was magical. It really helped me stay on track with school work, appointments and social events.

3. A reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is important! I take my water bottle everywhere I go. I also would like to think that I’m being green since I invested in a reusable water bottle. Plus, since I purchased mine from my college’s bookstore, it also gives me a little school spirit wherever I go.

4. Pack a (healthy) snack: I always like to bring a healthy snack with me before I leave my dorm room or the dining hall. Sometimes I’ll grab a banana before I leave the dining center. Other times I’ll quickly slip a Clif Bar into my purse before I leave my room and head to class. Keeping your energy up is important. There’s nothing worse than coming to class exhausted and looking uninterested in the subject.

5. Dress for success: Am I saying to go dressed in your prom dress or wear a tuxedo everyday? No. But when you look great, you feel great. Your peers and professors will also notice that you’re putting in the effort to look presentable.

Introducing the College Confessionals

College. It seems unreal to think that the first year of college has flown by. As I pause to ponder for a mere minute, I focus on staring outside the window which currently shows bleak looking weather. Ed Sheeran is softly playing in the background-something I find essential whenever there is a thunderstorm. Perhaps it is a bit dramatic to have Kiss Me playing on repeat, but I believe that I have dramatic tendencies.  That would explain my draw towards the theater arts and orchestral music.

I return my gaze back to my laptop’s screen, unsure of what to truly write. I shift the song to Jackie Evancho’s new single Apocalypse, hoping that will inspire words to bubble up and overflow within me and unto this page.

Before I stepped onto campus, college was a conundrum to me. I use the term conundrum loosely. I knew what college was. I was excited about the idea of studying what I was passionate about, about learning, and the opportunities that awaited me. Nervous was the perfect word to describe how I felt as well. At one moment I was excited to begin a new journey. At another moment, butterflies would fly viciously in my stomach.

There are multiple reasons why I have decided to dedicate a portion of my time to blogging, and create a category called the College Confessionals. For those who are eagerly (or nervously awaiting) college, I hope to be of some help. Or at least a source that you can relate to even if it is only a little bit. The words that I write about college is from my own personal experience. My own experiences, tips and tricks, and reflections are exactly that: my own. Each college journey is different for everyone, but this blog will be about mine. Over the past couple of years many people have “confided” to me that college has been the best four years of their life. It is with that thought in mind that I have decided to document my own four years.

Another reason why I have taken a particular interest in creating this blog is because for me, it is a therapeutic way to journal. I have tried many a times to journal daily but always feel as if nothing extremely important has occurred in my life. With Ages Ago, I hope that  while my blogging may not be everyday, it can still serve as a type of journal that documents my life.

Welcome to the College Confessionals.