To Stay or Not to Stay

As a freshman in high school, and a sophomore, and then a junior, I saw many batches of seniors ahead of me leave for college through a mysterious process filled with SATs and Common Apps and declarations of committal on Facebook. Without fail, as soon as September hit, my social media was consumed with a posts that begged for viewers to know what a good time the person was having as a freshman at UCLA, or the University of Oregon, or UT Austin, etc. After seeing these posts for years, I assumed that it would be that easy. Within a week of going to college, I would have met my best friends, would have had the best experiences, and would have a happily ever after. I soon found out that my assumption was far from correct.

Although my first few months of college were incredibly exciting and memorable, they were also much more challenging than I expected. I missed my friends, and my family, and my home.  After my first semester ended, I questioned if I should even stay at UW Madison. 

After talking to friends from home, I realized this feeling was more or less universal. No matter where you go, the first year of college is difficult. I, obviously, ended up staying, meeting a group of some of my closest friends, and not being able to imagine going anywhere else. Being happy isn’t as easy as Instagram makes it seem, but in the end, it’s worth it. 

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