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Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have five seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2013 to June 2014!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.

College is the best four years of your life. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway. The TV shows, songs, and movies glamorizing the crazy party lifestyle and hookup culture certainly don’t undermine this idea. And while I’m not interested in getting crunk and scoring chicks, I’d like to believe that college is a place where I can find meaningful, rewarding friendships, as well as where I can have fun hanging out with people on the daily. Sometimes in class I’ll start daydreaming about all the cool friends I’ll have in college, and how we’ll all sit in a coffee house and talk about interesting films while ambient anti-folk music plays in the background. That may not necessarily be everyone’s idea of a fun chill-sesh, but I know there are other people out there who are into that sort of thing, and I also know that those people are often attracted to small liberal arts colleges. On the surface, it seems that the “best years of my life” could be starting soon.

But there’s an obstacle standing in my way: I’m terribly incompetent at making friends.

Let’s rewind back to sixth grade. I rolled up to the first day of middle school looking stylish in jean capris and new Chuck Taylors. Though I didn’t know a single person, I was confident that I would make friends quickly. I mean, my mom had bought me A Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle SchoolI couldn’t have felt any more prepared. And yet, I still had a remarkably hard time talking to people. First trimester came and went, and while I saw other people forming friendships and cliques, I still felt like a total outsider. I did eventually make friends with some really nice girls, but it took more than half the year and required a lot more effort than I had anticipated.

Now, some might say at this point, “Celeste, you’re being incredibly silly. There’s a huge difference between starting middle school and college.” And yes, I like to imagine that I’ve developed socially at least a little since age eleven. I am still somewhat jaded, however, due to the similar situation I faced when I moved from New Mexico to Nevada two years ago. Completely new to both the school and state, I found myself even further ostracized from my peers and without a single person to confide in. This time, it took me even longer— almost a year and half— to start to feel comfortable in my new environment. Now, I have some really amazing friends—they’re some of the best, most interesting people I’ve ever met—but it took so much energy to get to this point, and sophomore year was absolutely dreadful.

“You’re still not thinking rationally,” says you, the skeptical reader. “Most people you meet at college also won’t know anyone. You’re all in the same boat.” This is true. Entering college is a decidedly different experience from starting at a new high school, especially when colleges put so much effort into making sure new students are comfortable and happy. What’s more, I am way more self-confident and outgoing than I was at sixteen. Still, my social anxiety persists, and with a cross-country move plus an entirely new set of peers plus sorta kinda entering adult life, there’s a chance I might backpedal, rendering me friendless for a little or a long time.

I don’t mean to sound super pessimistic about starting college. I really am excited, and I know I will meet many nice, interesting, and smart people. I am not going to wallow in self pity about my imagined future social life; rather, I am going to make a resolution to not have unrealistic expectations. If I don’t make any real friends the first semester, that’s okay. It may look like everyone on Facebook is having a ball, getting invited to trendy events every night, but don’t worry about that because a) nobody’s life is as great as their internet presence makes it seem and b) even if their life is that great, that is none of your concern. We all grow at our own pace, and I tend to form connections with people at a slower rate than average. And that’s okay.

I will now leave you with my favorite fun. song, which I like to listen to when I start getting stressed out about these sorts of things. Because nothing calms me down more than a man passionately singing at me to do so.

You can get in touch with Celeste by shooting her a message on her Tumblr.

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the author

Celeste Barnaby is a senior at a tiny private school in Reno, Nevada, also known as the Neon Babylon. She has committed to attend Wesleyan University and plans to major in film studies (but she's keeping an open mind). When she’s not stressing out over her schoolwork or procrastinating said work, she enjoys horseback riding, writing macabre short stories, and shopping for flannels. You can observe her attempts at humor and various television-related obsessions on her Tumblr.

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