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Tag Archives: everyday struggles

To Be A College Student

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I’m sitting outside of a classroom now, recognizing how much I have changed yet again. Maybe I should have a category just on my self-change realizations. Basically, this time, my question is: Can you be a college student without really being a college student?

I don’t mean can you be immature, not quite at the level college is supposed to require. We all know that happens all the time. And, if you didn’t know, I am sorry to say that you should probably quit reading here. I may keep destroying your beautiful view of people in college because a lot of us are procrastinating, coffee-inhaling zombies- unless of course you get us on a good day. Then you can cut out the zombie part.

That’s not the point in this post, though. Today I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong when I came to college, how I missed that necessary step, until now, to become part of the folds. I walked over the bricked walkway next to my library, made my way to sit outside of my next class and wait, and found myself looking around. With my laptop in hand, backpack on my shoulders, and a not too warm but still uncomfortable breeze blew my direction, I realized that, until that moment, I had missed something vastly important to my experience here.

Too often, I’ve told people that college isn’t like it is in the movies. Not here, not where I go to school, but is it? The campus screams college. It’s all sleek edges and perfect scenery, people on bikes and skateboards and advocating the Greek life. In a way, it is all like the movies, and I’ve not been a part of it until now. I have existed in a half-college attendee for a long while, this being the beginning of my second year.

I have to wonder if that is because I began college differently than most. By no means was I any prodigy or undiscovered intelligence, but with my zeal for learning, a mother who worked in the Student Admissions office, and a high school that offered me a chance to attend college for free, I was handed an opportunity few even knew was out there. To walk in, as an entering Freshman in college with 45 hours under my belt of general education courses and just courses in general was crazy. At the age of 19, I am a Junior on my way to getting a Bachelor’s in English and a minor in Business.

At some point, though, I think that hindered me. I came to think of college as just another set of classes to take, rather than a part of my life to experience to the fullest. I haven’t attended clubs, I go to work four out of seven days of my week, I interact with my roommates on only a very basic level, and I exist in college like a mother going back to school after many years would. I do not look at college as a new experience or interesting new world. I look at it as a necessity to get a good job. My off-campus, campus apartment is not a way for me to meet new people, it is a convenience to avoid an unnecessary 45 minute drive unless required.

So, I guess in some ways you can be a college student without being a college student. I mean, I’m succeeding rather well at it, though I’m not sure if, now that my eyes have opened to it, that might not change. What do you think? I’ve got 51 followers now, and I thank you ALL for that, though I have not said so yet, but none of you really tell me what you think, and I would love to hear your views on it.

I thank you and will see you soon. I will eventually get back into my weekly routine of blogging, I’m just not there yet. Stick with me.

Megan

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Sometimes It Hurts…

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The pain in being shy does not lie in the shy tendencies. It lives in the darker place that no one sees, in the want to be like the rest of the crowd around you, the want to be friendly without a fear of what could happen, immediately ready for engaging with the person or people you have to meet and realizing that, no matter how much you might want it, it’s just beyond your reach.

This is just something that came to me today, and though I am thinking of trying to write a piece to go around it in a story, it struck me how unutterably true it is. I don’t know that you see it here. Can you? Whether you can or can not, though, does not really negate the fact that I am, and have been since around the age of seven or eight, shy to the point of terror. Where some say they are shy, they are really just not great with meeting new people, or they don’t really want more people in their life.

For me, it is completely different. I sit cloaked in a social phobia. I am terrible at communication. Crowds… no. A new person in general? Kill me. You probably don’t believe me, though, so let me interest you in a little fact. I can count, on one hand no less, the friends I actually spent time with that I had before a year ago. Can you guess how many? Three. And to take it a step farther, none of those three were my friend at the same time as another. I could only deal with one apparently. Another instance? I spent a year at college. In order to avoid the cafeteria because I did not have a friend to go with and could not imagine without a painful sort of terror braving the crowd on my own, I spent seven days in my room alone surviving on three packs of peanut butter crackers and tap water.

I wish I was joking. I am getting there, though, and with the help of some wonderful people, I might someday make it to being able to deal with the fear on my own. As of right now, though, I am stuck in a sand pit that, when in the company of close friends, I can walk freely in and have a good time. In the presence of anyone new, be it one person or one hundred, turns into quicksand. The terror makes my throat tighten painfully and I imagine I can’t get enough air. My hands  go clammy, I wrap my arms around my torso and hold myself, I hide in baggy hoodies, I don’t make eye contact, don’t smile, though I try my best to hide my internal misery, and I certainly don’t speak.

So often people believe that people in my own situation don’t try to get past it, that they do it, in the end, to themselves. Well, if you ever meet me and get the chance to get past my terror, you’ll see that I am nothing but friendly, loving, caring. To be angry hurts me nearly as much as being shy. I will do anything for someone. And I am trying to get past it. I know I love it when someone notices my shirt or my hair, something. And to try to give other people that same feeling of a little pride in themselves, I am attempting to conquer my fear of people by forcing myself to compliment them when I notice something nice about them. Not only is it forcing me to engage with new people, but it is noncommittal and makes people feel good about themselves.

Sometimes it hurts… but I’ve found that pushing through the pain is, at some level, possible with the right friends there to help.

Growing Into My Skin

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That’s right. As I sit here, wiggling my new mustache mouse, clicking my keys, and thinking all the way back to the last August I completed, I can’t believe that I could already be so different. In 14 days, I’ll officially be 19- well, the 30th. I don’t know what day it is where you are. So I’m just shy of another year of my life being over, and I can barely fathom it.

This time last year, my soul was woggly (yes, woggly, it’s hard to explain) and cowering, terrified of what exactly college was going to hold for me. Was I going to hate my roommate who I didn’t know at all? Were the classes going to kill me? Would I lose my scholarships? Would I make friends? Would I give up writing? What would happen to me? Would I become involved in the wrong crowd, disappoint my mother and stepfather and ruin myself? Would I lose the tenuous hold on my boyfriend who was, at that point, only a friend with benefits?

Well, guys, I’d like to think that I did not do any of those things. I hated some of my classes, yes, but that’s to be expected and was partially due to the major I had and didn’t need to have. I didn’t hate my roommate; in fact, she was the best roommate and friend I could hope for. I still have my scholarship, though I had a moment of up all night, crying my eyes out worrying that I might at one point. The crowd I got involved in really encourage and push me to the dreams both I and my parents have for my future. My boyfriend and I got closer and finally decided on a relationship.

And, thank goodness, probably the most important to my well-being… I did NOT give up my writing. In fact, being at college, being with this new boyfriend, having these new friends, has not only boosted my knowledge of life and thus enhanced my writing, but has also really pushed me into the ability to be more confident in my writing and what I want to do.

So, I got lucky, but in a terrifying sort of way. I look at the world around me, and though most of it has stayed the same, I view it differently. Maybe this is growing up, or maybe this is me finally growing into the skin I was born with. I am not certain, but with a job I feel secure in leaving me, a new year of college beginning, the less lovey and more serious stage of a relationship starting, and me sitting here with a blog in front of me once again, I have to say I’m not scared or woggly or nervous. I am anticipating what very well might be yet another year I’ll never want to forget.

Be prepared, my fellow bloggers, readers, writers, and friends. What comes from me next might blow your minds, not only because it’s some of my best work, but because it might be something you never expected from me.

So, be watching, you might well be surprised.

With Confidence,

Megan

When A Writer Writes

Hi there everyone. This is just sort of my welcome speech for anyone new in the future and my hello speech for everyone today.

This blog is one of those moments when a writer writes something about their writing- about what’s going on with their everyday struggles of being published, about writer’s block, about characters who don’t want to cooperate, or the shock of where their writing is taking them, and about how they didn’t even expect that that was going to happen in chapter two when they only just started!

My name is Megan Stephenson, and if you didn’t guess from the subtitle, I’ve self-published my own book called A War I Never Asked For…, which I will be adding a page about soon enough that tells you more in depth what that’s about, where you can get it, and how much it will cost you. I have a Facebook Page to reach out to my readers and this is another, longer and more in depth way for me to do that.

Instead of short posts about the change to the back of my cover or an invitation to come see me at the book signing, this is where you can find my irritated rants about writer’s block and what I do to fix it. I might post small portions about or of my newest project. This is basically a place for you to get to know me as a writer and as an author.

I haven’t decided yet if this will have regular postings on specific days or if it will be completely and utterly sporadic like the minds of most creative writers- including me, but no matter what, I will attempt to post at least once a week to let you know what has been going on!

That’s all for me today, though, and probably for this week, but I will talk with you again soon!