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Friday, April 19, 2024

My first college cry

You never forget your first time

 

By CARMEL RAVIV — craviv@ucdavis.edu

 

Watching “A Dog’s Purpose,” my middle school graduation, my first breakup and losing my AirPods in a restaurant in Jamaica — these all seemed like appropriate times to cry in my life. I wasn’t ashamed of shedding a tear or expressing myself, because it was a very teenage-girl thing to do.

Although the difference between an 18-year-old in high school and an 18-year-old in college is literally three months, the shift felt like beginning a completely new chapter, one that warranted some new maturity and a lot of growing up. And that meant no more crying. I expected to find a huge group of friends, settle into my classes and get into a new routine that cultivated who I was in my newfound independence, all without a single tear. 

Given the headline of this article, I failed. So what was it that made me cry? Not being able to attend sorority rush last fall because I had to go home that weekend. Yep, and I felt pretty stupid about it. 

I expected too much from myself in college. I wasn’t becoming cool and independent fast enough. Where were the parties three times a week? Thirsty Thursdays? The swanky coffee shops where everyone hangs out? When do the classes get interesting so I can be pretentious? Why is my only real friend my mom? 

I was meeting so many people, but not forming real connections yet. Even though privacy is hard to come by in a triple freshman dorm, guaranteeing that I was never alone, I always felt lonely. I believed strongly that joining Greek life would solve my problems. I was looking forward to it for weeks, feeling like it was the only way into living the college experience I envisioned for myself. But when my Jewish mother pleaded that I come home to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the chance slipped through my fingers. 

I vividly remember flopping on my bottom bunk bed, turning my head towards the wall so my roommates wouldn’t see and silently crying until I fell asleep. Then I woke up, forgot about it and went about my day. 

I was afraid that if I cried, it would confirm that I wasn’t having fun in college or living up to my expectations. But actually, it showed me it’s okay to have bad days and move on. College won’t always be easy, and settling in is a long process. But if you keep your head up, let yourself cry and let go of your expectations, you’ll find yourself truly happy with genuine people and unique experiences to show for it. When things don’t go your way, it’s okay to cry about it. It’s the college thing to do.

 

Written By: Carmel Raviv — craviv@ucdavis.edu

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