How Agnosticism Changed How I See My Sexuality But Literally Nothing Else

I think I stopped believing absolutely in capital “G” God in 5th grade. The granddaughter of a Nigerian Episcopalian pastor on my father’s side and baptized Catholic at a young age from my mother’s side, you’d think that religion would be a strong part of my life. It’s not difficult to see how my relationship with religion became so loose. I think I had gone to church with my family less times than I could count on one hand. Any time I was recited a Bible story was no different than when I was recited any other story.

Despite these blatantly obvious facts, I think there’s like a grand total of one person who knows that God and I are kind of on the fritz. And again, you can’t really blame me for the secrecy. I think every single person I grew up with that I considered a friend is very attached to their religion. One of my good friends even said that they couldn’t respect someone who didn’t believe in “anything” ( at which point I began to internally scream “yikes” for our entire conversation ). So of course I pretended to be a good Christian™ for all my buddies and go to non-denominational church with them every now and then. I know it’s bad to lie to every one around you, but I have not a single point of reference to how my friends view people with no religion. I have some very argumentative friends and the last thing I want is to have to defend myself in a debate that is essentially “un-winnable” on either side, altering friendships because we lie on different ends of an uncomfortable plane.

I’m not preachy about my disbelief and really don’t see the point in trying to “convince people” that ” there is no God” and that’s not a business I endorse for anyone. My decision and beliefs are extremely personal and I’m not 100% sure any one can really prove my beliefs over another, but I just feel in my gut that this world that we’ve got is all there is, and I’m more than comfortable with that. When the question of “what values do I have comes up?” comes up, I think my answer is no different than even many religious people and that my values come from what I carefully believe to morally good. I try to be as good as I can for the sake of it, without any kind of “moral dessert”. And I think I finally admitted my agnosticism when I realized I could do all of that without believing in a God I didn’t have faith in. I didn’t believe in God because I saw this world as random and chaotic and have no reason to believe the way it came to be and everything there is can’t be the same. I totally get religion, 100%, and admire and respect every one on this earth (within reason, Scientology is still sketch. Sorry Tom Cruise), but just like all religions should coexist, I think we should be more comfortable with the concept of disbelief at a personal level and all get used to letting people live their lives how they want to see it.

And on this long note of agnosticism being just another part of me, my lack of any attachment to any religion led me to evaluate what other things I felt I was blindly following with no personal connection. The first thing that came to mind was my sexuality about a year ago (okay, maybe the fact I’m in college also influenced the thought). I knew I was always attracted to men, but I realized I didn’t really understand what “not” being attracted to women really was. In the past year I haven’t been super into anyone like the epic days of middle school, so I really began to understand for myself what attraction and sexuality meant to me. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that I didn’t see any reason why I was only attracted to men. I was only ever attracted to guys because of qualities about them. Of like the few I’ve ever liked, they’ve all had pretty similar personalities that I thought would really mesh with mine. I don’t know if bisexual or pansexual or just queer is the correct way to describe myself, but I’d rather just be defined as having no definite sexuality. I think people should love people for who they are as people. Their personalities are what draw others in. And yeah, before anyone screams at me, I get the difference between this and sexual attraction, which is where the definition probably comes into play, but again, I just see no reason as to why I shouldn’t be attracted to women the same way as men? It’s bizarre to say, especially since I have no life experience to prove I actually would be attracted to women because I definitely thirst hard over some men, but deep down inside of me there seems to be some chaotic nutcase that just doesn’t believe in restrictions or codes or whatever. Deep down, I think that what feels right should be right and all we have to do is be good to one another, for no reason other than that.

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A Letter To My Sister(s): Don’t Let White Suburbia Strip Away Your Femininity

My little sister is in 9th grade, just starting high school, and it’s homecoming season. Originally, she said, uncharacteristically, that she was going to skip it and go to an indoor water park with her friend. Today she calls me and says that she is shopping for homecoming dresses but still doesn’t know if she wants to go or not because all her friends are going but they’re all getting asked and she knows she won’t be.

In that moment, not only was I transported back to my own insecure freshman year, but I also felt the immediate call to action. I was not going to let me sister deal with the common plight of the black woman in dating life so soon.

Even though she didn’t explicitly say it, anyone could tell my sister was a little bit upset about the fact that nobody would want to ask her to homecoming. My sister annoys me from time to time but I admire her personality and liveliness so much that it hurts to see something as inconsequential as a homecoming dance bring her down. She’s already getting the taste of having to watch all of her friends get the attention of high school boys while she’s seemingly left behind. Having to go to school in a community that implicitly and immediately ranks you as a less attractive woman for your skin color alone is something no young girl growing up should have to go through, yet it happens everywhere, all the time. She even tries to hide her incredibly defined arm muscles because she doesn’t want to “look too strong”.

From personal experience, it’s infuriating to know that so many people exclude black women from their dating pool based on “preference” (a.k.a thinly veiled and coded racism). Black women are incredibly hypermasculinized as they are stripped of their femininity and perceived as aggressive, loud, and/or “ratchet”. Our facial and body features are either viewed as ugly and undesirable or entirely hypersexualized (black booty ring a bell?). I’ve written and researched extensively on the fetishism of POC women, but black women, especially the dark-skinned black woman, are counter-fetishized like no other, and boy are we aware of it. The internal shame you feel when you start to like a guy but then take it back because you know there’s no way that he likes dark-skinned black girls is a hallmark of our lives. These beliefs are ridiculous but they’re instilled at such a young age for girls like my sister and I who grow up around girls who look nothing like ourselves. Both my sister and I deeply regret chemically relaxing our hair in order to have hair that was more “normal”, only for our hair to be damaged and fall out soon after, but what I regret most about it is that I stripped away a part of my own black natural beauty, solely in order to fit the white mold that would always cast me out. (Note — there’s nothing wrong with relaxing your hair if it’s your choice)

And the worst part is, that even when you recognize the problem, there’s so few people around you that can empathize or sympathize, that you just have to quietly accept it as part of your life and hope that one day you’ll find your “white savior” (or any race of man because even black men are incredibly guilty of “defeminizing” and dismissing black women) who actually give us a chance, praying they don’t have some fetish or something. Additionally, talking about this issue with non-black women, to me, has always felt like I’m coming across as bitter that I’m not getting the boys’ attention that I “so richly desire” (*insert eye-roll*), but deep down inside, we all know the issue is so much deeper than the individual. I’m so exhausted of this standard being so common and so hotly defended, and I’m so done living in a world where I have to constantly fight for and prove my own femininity by dismissing my black identity.

Back to my little sister, I want her to know that she is beautiful and that no guy in her white, rich, conservative suburb can make her feel otherwise. I want her to know that she does not have to settle for whatever slimeball-leftover-boy her friends try to set her up with so they don’t feel guilty about her going alone. I want her to have the confidence to flirt with guys and ask them out and not immediately think of rejection before she even tries. And I’d like to think that the buck stops in white suburbia, but it exists even far outside its reach, as I can tell living in one of the most liberal states in this here union. I know it’s going to be a tough road for her because I lived it, but she deserves an adolescence that’s defined by her embracing her own femininity and feeling confident, empowered, and beautiful, as ALL black women are and deserve to feel.


Note: this is definitely from a heteronormative perspective, and I apologize but my point is less about the man/female relationship and more about the self-worth of Black women.

These Walls Are Too Thin

Okay so like I’m really not down with capitalism, but mostly because I know that for the next 10-15 years of my life, I will be living in a tiny apartment with very little living space and shared oxygen with many roommates. Having siblings, I can deal with the roommate part, but the biggest thing for me, especially right now as I temporarily live in a teeny-weeny college dorm room are these damn thin walls.

If there’s anything that really defines me, it’s that I have this super active imagination. It was definitely a blessing and a curse, if anything. On the one hand, I could tell a vivid story or get lost in the possibilities of what my life could be like. On the other hand, the mind of a middle school girl ripe with puberty hormones just cannot contain the fantasies I had about random boys I had crushes on — from conversations to romantic date scenarios to the ol’ dot dot dot…. (ok that came like around end of high school, don’t worry fam). Point is, I love speaking these things out loud, by myself, like I’m having a conversation with someone except it’s with my dream personality and I’m doing ALL the talking. I like to call it Outer-Monologuing, and I OWN it. But the key to outer-monologuing is PRIVACY, as in NOBODY ELSE gets to hear about the fake conversations I have with my only semi-attractive British neighbor literally in the room across from me. Meaning nobody else can hear the bitch-ass takedown I give to the person who wronged me in the 4th grade. It’s my fake personality, but when you’ve got walls so thin that your neighbors can hear you and think you were on the phone with your long-distance boyfriend, it gets real awkward. Real. Fast.

It’s not just my fake personality that I like to air out in my rooms. Sometimes you just have to air out the dirty laundry. And yeah, sometimes I do actually need to air out my dirty laundry because it piles up and we can’t all be perfect, but I’m talking about spilling the tea here. The fact that “tea” autocorrects to 🐸☕️ on my phone should help with the context, but honestly if you don’t understand spilling the tea, you’re probably not going to understand that brilliant emoji combo. ANYWAY, I shamefully love gossip. Not celebrity gossip, too blasé, but gossip about people I actually know and have established dislikes for is like actual crack cocaine for me. But guess what other FAVORITE PASTTIME is ruined by these damn THIN WALLS! You can’t gossip if you live next to Sarah who’s best friends with Alex who’s cousins with Rachel who could spill the hot gossip you screamed in your room about a Susan. It’s just not right and it’s just not fair. (The moral ambiguity of it all is not important here)

But you know then there’s the big kicker of thin walls being able to HEAR THE SEX IN THE ROOM NEXT DOOR AT 2 AM.

So yeah I can be all narcissistic and pretend that I’m super annoyed with all my introspective bullshit I have to put on hold…

But really, it’s the sex.

puzzle piece, etc.

they got this puzzle with over 1700 pieces

they start with the corners and edges

even though they’re on the outside

they’re not cast aside, they’re necessary

 

scattered across the table are the remaining pieces

sorted based on color, shape,

and interesting traits,

separate from the whole, but together

 

the pieces slowly begin to come together

the puzzle is almost complete.

they all fit so neatly in the board

except one. they try to jam it in

it won’t fit.

 

Lessons in Identifying Fuckboys (And Realizing That They’re Not And You’re Just Really Cynical)

So to be clear, I 100% believe in the concept of fuckboys, however, I also believe in the fact that my social ineptitude has bred a cynicism that distorts my social world view, like a lot. If you recall my earlier post about me not believing that my life could ever be like the typical high school/college movie love scenes? Turns out it’s actually very common and I apparently just have a giant stick up my butt from being a cynical hard-ass all the time. ANYWAY, to my story!

I don’t think I’ve shared too many stories on this blog (or much of anything really, sorry!), but sometimes things happen in life that make you think “Wow, this would be really great, I should tell my friends about this” or “Wow, this would be a great plot point in a sitcom”. Recently, I’ve had many of those moments, and I always mean to blog about them, but I never have the chance. Thankfully, I’m a “good college student” who gets her work done early and has no social life so she doesn’t even have parties or alcohols to be distracted by, SCORE! (insert sarcasm here cuz the only thing keeping life from sucking 100% is the fact that I have all my chem work done) But nevertheless, I’ve finally found the space in my day to blog for one of my legendary (and when I mean legendary, I mean rambling and circuitous) stories. So here it goes, the story of me and the FroSoCo fuckboy!

So on a nice sunny day in Stanford, California, September 19th to be exact, I moved into my dorm in Freshman-Sophomore College, stylized FroSoCo, at Stanford University. Now, I vaguely knew the names of roughly 50-60 people that would be living in FroSoCo through a Facebook Messenger group, but many still remained a mystery to me and even their names weren’t much to go by. So that day, I’m anxious to meet all the new people in FroSoCo, and since we were a bit isolated from all the other freshman dorms on campus, I expected the majority of the people I would befriend would be from there (see previous post to see why I was hilariously wrong). The first person I officially met™ was my roommate who, for only the purpose of further explanation of future events, is blonde, super nice, outgoing, and all-around amazing. So I’m pumped because I had spent the last month or so dreading that my roommate would be a weirdo homebody that wouldn’t talk to me or do anything, etc. (basically me rn so I’m a huge hypocrite). Anyway, fast forward to the time when all of FroSoCo convenes to say our official “goodbye” to our parents. I’m standing with my roommate as well as another floormate who, only for the purposes of the next event, was a guy who is very muscular. As the parents finish their goodbyes and we are waiting to be released to dinner, a very familiar blond boy I recognized from the Facebook messenger group darts toward our small group. He immediately introduces himself to both my roommate and my floormate, but noticeably to me, does not attempt to learn my name. He then talks up to the aforementioned floormate about working out and swimming, etc. but then directs his attention to my roommate. He asks to the group to exchange numbers, but once we all take out our phones and pass them over, as soon as he gets my roommates number, his phone goes away instantly. It was this moment that I no longer referred to him by his actual name in my head. He would forever be known as the FroSoCo fuckboy. And do not think I’m being hard on said fuckboy. He had several chances to redeem himself. Let me elaborate.

Several times I’ve found myself in the same room, same group as this guy, yet he exhibits the same telltale behavior. It’s almost mind-boggling how he can maneuver through a large crowded group of people and only engage with those he finds attractive. To me, he seems predatory and self-interested, but to the girls he finds attractive, it’s nothing. It’s the first day and everyone’s introducing themselves to everyone. But I’ve seen this guy’s pattern. Days of careful, unintended observation (I swear I didn’t follow this guy, he was literally just everywhere I was and it was lowkey annoying) reaffirmed my conclusion…until today.

So today, I decided to go to my first Chem optional “outreach” session, where basically we just do some extra problems from lecture. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have gone because I left realizing how much I underestimate my own abilities, or at least my abilities to properly use significant figures and understand 1 amu = 1 g/mol. Anyway, I walk into the lecture room and, because I’m late, sit at the nearest table with open seats in the front. There are two girls there who I thought were athletes (which is an important indicator because all athletes at Stanford literally look like Aphrodite or Adonis). Nevertheless, I was a bit nervous because the last time I sat with two athlete girls, they kinda ignored my presence, but these ones were nicer. I introduce myself and go to pick up a handout after setting my stuff down, but as soon as I get up out of my chair, none other than the fuckboy himself swoops in and chats up the other girls at my table, popping a squat at the last seat of the four person table. Yikes.

At first, I expect this experience to proceed as the past several have. He introduces himself in a kind of serial predatory way, I, of course, am ignored, and he somehow manages to collect their numbers or something, and that’s how it started. However, I soon remembered that I had to labor through witnessing this, while also sitting right across from him, but also having to answer the packet of chem problems and collaborate. Now, I made my way through these problems relatively quickly, as I mentioned above, but as I struggled to make my own voice heard as I was trying to correct one of the two girls’ wrong answers or give my input on how to solve a problem, he actually began to address me and look me in the eye in order to ask for help on problems. It was mind-boggling to me, and it reminded me how ridiculous I was being. Yeah, he was kind of a fuckboy, don’t get me wrong there, but for the first time, he sounded like and seemed like a normal college boy, not a creepy predator future-frat-reject. After he addressed me for the first time, I had no problem speaking to him as if he were anyone else I would be working on problems with (which does not mean comfortably, but rather I’d be able to pipe up after several seconds of hesitation), and I began to rethink whether it was ever right to label him a fuckboy in the beginning (but then I saw him do his routine later in the distance, so the label sticks).

Now, I’m not remotely interested in FroSoCo fuckboy or what his opinion of me is, despite the fact that I’ve written a diatribe on how disturbing I find his behavior and how I may have judged him a bit too much, but at the end of it all, I reached two conclusions. 1) I think it’s pretty interesting how I was able to change my perception of someone after actually meeting them legitimately, and 2) I think it’s pretty poetic and kind of my constant fate, to not ever be noticed for my looks (I’m literally invisible people, what gives. People who look like troll monsters deserve appreciation too!), but rather for my brains/ability.

Fascinating stuff, amirite? No? Yeah, I figured, but I really needed to post more.

Noam Chomsky, I Adore You

I killed an ant stuck in a crevice in my alarm clock this morning. I believe it was a metaphor for our global order, let me explain.

Anyway, I finally found the answer to my prayers, a man who has most profoundly influenced my own political and social viewpoints on the world. Obviously, by the title you could tell it was the legend himself, Noam Chomsky, the only person who could make me regret and actually want to go to MIT, until I remembered the much more extensive list of reasons why I wouldn’t set foot on the campus in the first place.

 

noamchomsky

The most wonderfully brilliant bastion of hope this world has ever given us…

 

Anyone who knows of this guy, may probably be thinking right now… “So she considers herself a socialist now, big whoop. Doesn’t every kid going off to college come out as an ultra-liberal?”. And to that, I say, well you may be right, but not quite and I’ve always been very liberal so I have no idea what you’re talking about “suddenly becoming” one. To make things clear, I’ve always been skeptical of anything I read that has ties to politics. Behind every article, there is someone with a political perspective that they hope to win over all the others, and the concept of that in its essence is not necessarily a bad thing. What’s frightening is the propaganda and lies spread that convinces people that any means can justify a particular end, but we can’t even define what this end is or whether it’s good for us or not. Back to Noam Chomsky, I recently picked up a few of his books a couple weeks ago on a trip to Barnes and Noble where my mother and I were trying to entice my little sister to read more… she’s allergic to books apparently. Anyway, I’m a huge classics-turned-linguistics nerd and so naturally I go into the section that houses their like 10 linguistics books and I pluck them from the shelves, seeing that my buddy Noam makes up about 50% of the section. Not satisfied with the amount of books in my basket, I go over to the international current affairs section because I thought it was high time that I know more about the geopolitical mess we have on our hands at the current moment.  Now the, international affairs section is much more “well-endowed” than the linguistics section so as an amateur, I try and look for anything familiar to pique my interest (mind you I’m not a total novice to this stuff as a debater for four years, but I personally believe that a lot of debaters, minus extempers, kinda have tunnel vision when it comes to what’s going on with the world, due to the nature of their events). Of course, my favorite linguist also just so happens to be a prolific social critic, and it was love at first sight, but not quite.

So throughout my senior year, I didn’t really have much of a chance to read many books for pleasure, given we were pretty much always reading different books for English anyway. Also, I’m a lazy senior so that too. The one book I picked by Noam Chomsky from this section, “Profit Over People”, was my personal challenge. I needed to finish this book within a short period of time to get back into the swing of reading. Thankfully, I actually accomplished my goal, but what I got from the book was so much more than a check on my personal summer bucket list.

Essentially, the point of the book was to argue about the doctrines and the development of a pro-corporate system of economic and political policies that restrict the public arena and support private power, while also highlighting the harmful effects of policies that are prescribed to poor countries from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and the World Bank. He rails against neoliberalism in its entirety and strongly criticizes the neoliberal policies made by former President Bill Clinton, a man who I’d never criticized that harshly before, among other leaders. Chomsky enlightened me to how much our government’s policies work against the interests of the common people and how pervasively the propaganda that gets us to go along with their plans extends. The most eye-opening parts of the novel for me concerned our foreign policy in Latin America and how far the United States’ government is willing to go in order to protect their profit interests, effectively destroying the stability of countries in order to maintain the cash flow. Mind you, this book was written pre-2007 housing market crisis and Wall Street bailout, and Noam Chomsky is still very much vehemently opposed to the likes of Donald Trump and his reckless political scheme.

happy bill

How I felt about Bill Clinton BEFORE reading Chomsky…

sad bill

…and after

There was little, if anything that I disagreed with in this book, but unexpectedly, reading this book also made me question my own beliefs. I didn’t just read Noam Chomsky and 100% devote myself to his philosophy, nor did I discount everything he said. Rather I realized that while I agreed with many of the things he was saying, I also began to reflect for myself the pros and cons of so many decisions our global society makes and I know it’s not so easy, and it’s kind of sickening to realize how hard it is to rid ourselves of the deeply embedded “corruption” and debauchery that’s rooted in countless international and domestically based organizations. Who is going to the represent the people, for the benefit of the people? It’s a depressing thought to think about as I’m going into the real world, but it’s also hopeful to know that I’m not alone and that maybe, I can empower, and be empowered, to change the status quo.

Or maybe I’m just too young and naïve to understand how the world works, and in any quest for power and success, I too will have the wake-up call that I must squash all people inferior to me on such a quest.

Kind of like that ant on my alarm clock.

What the &#&^*! Is College Anyway?!

 

You know, the shitstorm that was the college application cycle was a lot of things, but you know what it was really good at? Blinding us from the reality that college is real. It isn’t just this arbitrary concept that we were all aspiring towards like a trophy. No sirree, we don’t even the tiniest ounce of what shit we’re walking straight into.

Between you and me, there’s a lot of things that I love about becoming a “college student” and a lot of things I haaattteee. For one thing, I hate the fact that the name of my school overtakes me whenever people ask where I’m going. As soon as the word “Stanford” (Surprise, for those that read one of my earlier posts!!!) fleetingly slips out of my mouth, I know exactly the stock responses about to be uttered and the precise thoughts subsequently racing through their minds. To people around my age, I get everything from #1) misplaced “awe” as their worship of the school itself is projected onto me as the conversations quickly shift from being centered around my personal education, to the ACT score I needed to get in or the acceptance rate for the regular decision round or #2) people who, despite never speaking to me about college before, have already decided that I’m conceited and belittle the school I’ve chosen as my future alma mater since they assume I chose it for name alone, and not the fact that they have both amazing biology and computer science programs with a flexible curriculum (not as restrictive as Columbia, not as loose as Brown) and much more laid-back and less cutthroat environments than my other options. Basically, the minute people find out where I’m going, it’s like I’ve lost control of how people perceive me, but even worse, every time I talk about Stanford, I still feel sick in my stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get regret my choice whatsoever, and I’d probably feel the same way if I had chosen a lot of my other options, but the problem remains that I still harbor unresolved guilt over the whole matter, but also for the first time, I worry that my choice in college may have been affected by my internal need to always prove to people that I’m capable (I blame 3.5 years of being disregarded and underestimated by #debateboyz for that one), but also that the problem is simply covered up, not erased by the fact that I’m going to a big-name hotshot school, which leads me to my next thought…

College is unbelievable, but the process reads like an Agatha Christie novel.. It doesn’t help that I still have no tangible idea of what my schedule could look like for next year, who my roommate will be, or where I’ll even be living. Maybe it’s my insane jealousy and anxiety that 99.9% of all of my friends are on the semester system (make that 100%), but it really sucks being exactly two months away from move-in day and have no idea how you’ll get your belongings on campus. It’s not that I don’t have the resources to figure this stuff out, but it’s still too surreal, and it probably won’t feel real until I get there, but it’s still too far away to grasp.

Speaking of my soon-to-abandon-me friends. I’m afraid of how much, or more precisely how little, I’ll still keep in contact with them. I didn’t have that many friends in school to begin with. I made my way by being civil and nice, but I was never warm enough to a lot of people and I’m just the girl “people knew in high school”. Those people, the ones who were either friends with me by association or convenience, aren’t the ones I’m worried about. I’ve made my amends with the fact that I wasn’t the most likable person in school, and part of it was my fault. Sometimes, whenever I think I’m getting too close to someone, I feel as if I must be a nuisance and sometimes I back off, which inevitably leads to the friendship deteriorating into oblivion. But that’s beside the point for now, I’m worried about the people I consider “my best friends”, in the loose definition of the word I know today. When I was younger, I had one or two “best friends”, but the difference between them and the friends I have today, is that we only had each other. We did everything together because we were all each of us had, but it’s much different now. Unfortunately, we’re all less close now, precisely because we no longer had JUST each other, leading to my new friends of today. While we’re still close and I wouldn’t want to lose contact with them, I’m afraid the distance will hurt our relationships more than I can even imagine. My friends are so much better at making friends than I am, to the point where I wonder how people even become friends with me in the first place. I’m awkward, shy, cynical, spineless, and so much more, but not qualities you look for in a buddy to join to catch a movie or go on a walk through the park. And as they find people who could replace me in a heartbeat, I’ll be left thousands of miles away, in an unfamiliar place, by myself, trying to figure out how to initiate conversation or appear more approachable. Furthermore, one of my best friends I’ve made in high school, has become much more distant to the point where we haven’t talked in weeks, and I have no idea what initiated the tension. Their disappearance in my life hurts most precisely because I could feel it a little bit earlier in the year, but couldn’t understand it and did nothing to rectify it. And now, I have no idea how to reconcile what we’ve lost, and worry I’ve just lost a dear friend forever. I desperately don’t want the future to keep taking the friends I have now away. Besides, who’s going to tell the abundant embarrassing stories about me at my future wedding?

And to top off my mini-howling on all things relating to the never-ending anxiety that is college life, is the number-one thing I’m there for, my studies. What I do from here on out has the potential to define my entire life. Getting a B in a class derails my chance at getting into a top-notch medical school. Not securing a good summer internship ruins my shot at having a successful career in tech or software engineering. I already feel like I’m coming in from behind, and I desperately want to have everything laid out for me in a simple four-year plan, but I know, especially from my experience in high school., that I will never get anything in life that easily. I’ve tried the past few weeks to improve myself, given my rocky senior year and depression diagnosis that I don’t completely understand and I can tell my mom either wants to ignore or doesn’t have the time to take care of, since I’m so used to handling my own problems aside from matters of money or life-or-death situations. Look at any college meme page and it’s littered with light-hearted jokes that poke fun at the depressed culture of students over finals weeks and problem sets and not doing well enough, but what if I fall prey to such a stereotype. Everyday I repeat to myself that I will rise above it, but if I couldn’t do it in high school, how can I do it now, especially with my terrible work ethic. In senior year, I could count on one hand the number of times I studied for a test, and two hands the amount of times I actually did my homework before the morning it was due, if I did it at all. Yeah, I was that kind of kid, except not many people knew how bad it was. I was a girl people mistook to be “put together” and whenever anyone caught a small whiff of my true ways, they were honestly surprised and shrugged it off. I should’ve been self-destructive, but I still ended the year with straight A’s, even as a second-semester senior (#senioritis). Thing is, I was really good at handling my bad habits. Compared to people I knew who I could tell were letting work slide, I knew what I had to do to maintain appearances, because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two years. I don’t know if it was just a severe case of burnout that never truly settled itself out, or if I really do have a problem, but I can’t jeopardize my future by letting this happen again and again in college. I want to be perfect like some of my friends so that I can achieve what I want without being recklessly irresponsible or screw everything up like I usually do, but I’m so far from it. Finish it off with the fact that nearly every teacher I had throughout my four years of high school saw me as mediocre and nothing special, no matter how much I admired them in return, made me feel mediocre myself, despite being enrolled at a school where I’m surrounded by absolutely extraordinary people. Will I ever even fit in?

I have no idea how long the list of anxieties I have about college are, but you know what’s also entirely unknown?

What the #@$!% college is anyway.