Don’t you love the novel title? Since I never really had the opportunity to talk about it, this post will be dedicated to my freshman year at school!
Above is the Korean dish I had while eating with my family in the town where my school is. I remember I was a bit disappointed to leave my family and go to what would be my worst nightmare (aka college). It’s weird because even though I felt like the semester was short, I never realized that I did so much, looking back at the pictures.
The first few days treated me well, but I remember that I felt slightly lonely, as I had not found people that I would like to be close with, and I sort of blame myself for not trying hard enough to hang out with others, thinking that people would just need to come to me. I used to be more of a people person in high school, but in college I wanted my own space, and became obsessed with doing low-productivity tasks such as surfing the web and mainly the YouTubes. I remember at the time that I was watching Another Oh Hae Young and felt her desperation and loneliness and I could relate on a level. I would listen to music and go on quiet walks on campus at night, murmuring to myself in a language I didn’t even understand but did in my heart. Do I appear weird? I guess I do in a sense. Thankfully, I did end up finding people to talk to and since college was busy and I was so centered on focusing on improving my grades, life wasn’t too hard.
I tried to “figure myself out” in college. I tried to make friends, but I felt like there was always a wall between me and others, especially boys, because I felt like college was a time to meet my “soulmate.” I realized that more important than that, college is an important time to socialize with others and make friends that last. I realized that especially when I came back, that friends in college are important because even though high school friends are good to have, the relationship with them won’t be the same after high school. School was something that forced you guys to be together and now that connector will never be there. I guess effort is the most important thing to put into relationships at that point. Maybe I should try to put in more effort these days, but I have to stay indoors often because of my allergies; maybe that’s just an excuse for my laziness.
Of course I wanted to have fun. I did do fun things, but I realized that throughout college, the one most fun thing I did was taking Korean. I met people and learned a language that I really loved. Although I had class every day, I enjoyed going to class every day. Somehow I only missed two or three lectures the whole semester (it was 9am math). I feel like that number will increase throughout the years.
I took a lot of pictures (mostly selfies) because my mom reminded me to take pictures to remember the moments of my life when my skin would be at its best. When I look back at some of the selfies I took, even I cringed a bit.
Below is the second meal I had at the same restaurant as the first picture. This time I went with a Korean church group my friend was in. I didn’t fit in…probably because I wasn’t Korean, and I never went back to hang out with the Korean church group since then. However, they were all very nice and welcoming. Whenever I see some of them walking around, they always give me a warm welcome and it warms my heart a bit. 🙂
In my first semester, I didn’t feel like I meshed with any certain group, so I felt like the only space I could have people with similar interests as I was my Korean class, which is why I feel like I should do whatever I can to be able to continue taking the language, even though it takes up a lot of credits and time. I guess I already talked about this, but I also participated in the noraebang contest they held (haha I’m so cringey) and sang/danced Into the New World by Girls’ Generation. I felt like I needed to do it to satisfy all the dreams I had when I was in high school of being in a Kpop group. Although it did end up being cringey, after that moment I realized the community that I was in because of the class and how much I loved the people I was with. Even though I have a blog like this and everything, I feel like at school I try my hardest and be Elsa from Frozen, when she sings Conceal, Don’t Feel, because if “I make one wrong move then everyone will know”.
This meal above is the meal I had with one of my classmates in my writing class. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to get close to anyone in particular this semester, I am thankful for her kindness towards me and all the help she gave me. She is also in my Korean class so I don’t think she will leave my life soon.
Looking back, a big part of my life involved an Asian organization I joined on campus. This is the dinner we worked together to prepare; while preparing for the meal, I got closer to the people and grew to like them more and more. This is sad to say, but it was one of the funiest things I’ve done this semester. I liked that we had so many similar topics to talk about and that I could talk about to them with ease. The food was also delicious.
I worked at the dining hall close to my dorm. Although work was difficult, I had gotten closer to some people through it and I’m thankful for that, because I don’t know what else I would be part of at school that I would be able to commit to that would allow me rather flexible hours. I also wrote for the school yearbook and that wasn’t too stressful, but coming up with a start for an article was always a challenge for me; hopefully I’ll be able to be writing for the yearbook for a long time because I really enjoy writing (even though I’m not the best at it) and I feel like I won’t be doing a lot of it with my major-related classes.
Tests were a big part of my time at school since my school had multiple tests before the final, instead of just one midterm. During the testing times, I was stressed, but also happy. I realized that there were people around me to help me with the things I needed help with, got MUJI pens, and wore my lucky tiger socks I got in Korea. I tried with all of my might to study and learn the material for the semester, to the point where I didn’t want to waste even a second walking to places, but I realized that short periods of focus was much better than long periods of unorganized thought.
During Thanksgiving Break I got to live in one of my friend’s house in New Jersey. I was so surprised that I even had a friend that would offer to take me to her house during the break. I glad I found people to be by my side, even though my personality is cringe-worthy and even I find myself weird at times. We had Thanksgiving dinner and went to New York City. The last time I went to NYC was when I was really young and don’t remember much, but thanks to my friends I got a wonderful and magical tour of the city. I don’t think it would have been as great without them and I’m so grateful that such a thing even happened to me. I had planned to do a ton of work at her house and even brought my chemistry textbook, but of course with the abundance of food and fun atmosphere, how could I read through a textbook? When I came back from NYC, my mind wasn’t thinking straight and I felt like I couldn’t retain any information, but thankfully everything worked out during finals week. After this semester, I finally understood why everyone thought college was so difficult.
I never knew this would just lead to me showing the pictures of Korean food I had, but it did. Surprisingly there are a lot of Korean places around the university. My freshman year was confusing and frustrating, but in the end, I think I did the best I did, and I think and hope the next semester will go well with the efforts I made this semester.
I brought my plant back with me because it wasn’t allowed to stay in the dorms. It was such a hassle to get through security and two layovers but Bambi (plant) and I landed safely. And just with that, the semester ended and I got to go back and finally get enough sleep.