I hated college. Actually, I’ve hated school since I moved to middle-of-fuck-super-conservative nowhere, but I had hopes for college. I thought I could get on medicine and into therapy that would help my recurrent Major Depression and that I would grow into my body and perhaps, leave behind the unfortunate mess I’d made of my high school career. Instead, I dragged up the past, continued some ill-advised relationships from high school, developed an eating disorder, and ended up in the hospital for a week at the end of my Freshman year. My enthusiasm and what was left of my ego was more or less crushed by the end of my second semester. I came into college sad, but believing in fresh starts and my life’s potential, and left slack-jawed and stunned by reality. The hospital legacy and bad relationship patterns would follow me throughout college: by the end I had been to the ER six times, stayed in the hospital a total of four weeks, and had total of five relationships that ended in varying degrees of lack of success.
Two weeks ago when my best friend drove me to my new home, I cried pathetically. It hit me in the last week that my life was changing, and it might not be for the better as I hoped. I was leaving behind everything and even though I didn’t love half of it, I didn’t have a blueprint for the future. School was my life and had been for 17 years. It was the one thing I had left to make myself feel somewhat secure. A good paper grade, a kind word from a TA, or acing a test meant the world to me. As much as I hated how my self-esteem seemed to depend on my grades and my ability to complete my work, I didn’t want to try to leave without that security or build something new. I cried for that.
I also cried because I was leaving behind a boyfriend of sorts who was planning on going to grad school, a trip to Europe, and a road trip in the time after our separation. I developed mono one week before graduation (a consequence of living in the dorms), couldn’t do anything besides stay in bed, had to cancel my trip to Vegas, and hadn’t been able to kiss him goodbye. When the relationship was on-going, I hated it half the time. I was consistently on the verge of breaking up with him because it came clear that he didn’t respect me or my opinions and had issues understanding my boundaries. But as soon as it became clear I’d never see him again and that we wouldn’t be able to stay friends, I mourned the relationship as I had any other. Suddenly, I wanted it continue even as I knew two weeks before I wanted relief.
In the next two weeks he would predictably stop talking to me, despite promising not to, and I would curse myself for ever having believed someone gave a shit about me and for having wasted four months of my life when I could’ve ended it after a week. The nice and caring shit he said to me continually ran through my head along with the stupid bracelet me gave me the last time I saw him and the pictures we took together that he insisted upon saying “he enjoyed our time together and wanted something to remember me by”. Bullshit. All bullshit, and in my mind, unnecessarily painful due to the lack of honesty. I was crushed and if I’m being honest, since it’s only been two weeks, I’m still crushed.
I internalized everything and became a depressed mess on bed rest who annoyed all their family and friends with their gloom and doom, “I-hate-myself-and-my-life” proselytizing. Normally I’d drink a few bottles of wine and get the fuck over it quicker and get to the gym, but that wasn’t an option with an illness that was damaging my liver.
So I did what I could with what I had. I revised my resume, wrote a Cover Letter, decided to apply for six jobs a day, signed up for OKCupid, devoted my resources to attempting to get better as soon as possible (so I could finally demolish that wine bottle), and bought a book to study for the LSATs. If I didn’t have any self-worth anymore, I was going to try my hardest to create some.