I distinctly remember the first Saturday night of my sophomore year. I was laying on the floor of my dorm room as the noise from raucous groups of kids walking Uptown toward whatever the night held seeped in through the open windows.
I called my dad, tears rolling down my face.
“This is going to be the same as last year,” I rushed to say as soon as he picked up. “I’m miserable.”
After a first year filled with solo Netflix nights and enough studying to carry me through the rest of undergrad, I was terrified that the fact I didn’t have plans or friends to hang out with the first weekend back meant I was in for another lonely year.
“It’ll get better soon, bud,” my dad said gently.
The memory of that night came back to me as I was walking through the grocery store last week with my housemate as she read a text message from a friend of hers.
“On a scale of 1 - homesick, how homesick would you estimate you were during your... IDK, like first semester of college?” the message read.
Some of my best friends that I would go on to make sophomore year later confessed that the only reason they were still at Miami was due to the friendship they all found in one another.
Had it not been for that, they’d have scattered to Michigan, OSU and Cincinnati, all in search of the feeling we’d later find every night spent in our favorite booth in O Pub, or in a little shack of a house on Central Avenue.
I had wanted to transfer, too. But, my dad was right — things did soon get better. I eventually found my home.
It’s easy to forget that we’ve all been in the exact same boat. If you weren’t miserable at some point freshman year, you’re most certainly in the minority.
But this is also to say that it really and truly does get better.
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I’m a nurturer. I default to caring for people, whether it’s making tea for my housemates who seem to be perennially coming down with a cold, or I bring home houseplants and fresh bread from the farmer’s market.
When I became editor, I wanted to wrap the whole staff in a protective embrace, so no one would feel as alone as I did before they became my home at Miami.
Now, when I look around the living room of our little house on Church Street filled with the friends we’ve assembled through a mishmash of experiences, I’m filled with gratitude that I stuck it out all those times I hated being here three years ago.
I’ve been on a kick in the last month or so of trying to experience all of the things I missed out on freshman year. I was so busy being anxious back then that I neglected to partake in all the markers of college life.
With each new experience, I think to myself, “Who would have thought I’d be here now?”
One of my best friends, Kate, and I joke that it’s amazing we lived in the same dorm freshman year and quite literally never ran into one another. We recently realized we had a class together that year, too, and never once interacted with one another, both too socially anxious to do much of anything other than survive MAC 143.
Now, we spend our evenings Facetiming Kate’s mom for relationship advice and our weekends are spent hosting our friends and mothering our staff. We carry on the O Pub tradition of our best friends that graduated before us, and we occasionally lay on the floor when things get tough.
I know the person I was three years ago would hardly recognize the person I am now. A lot has changed, and I’ve had enough autumns in Oxford washed in layers of memories from the last few years to write innumerable columns.
On a scale from 1 to homesick, I was homesick beyond belief all of my first semester here. And my second semester, too. So if you’re laying on the floor of your dorm room feeling like I did, we’ve always got a space for you on staff.
And I promise things will always get better, too.