Packing up your entire life and moving to a new environment to better yourself is challenging. It's something along the lines of learning to walk all over again after having been handicapped. You know what it feels like, You know how it should work, but you just can't seem to make the steps properly. That is my description of University once you've uprooted yourself.
You have to start making new friends even when you quite prefer your old ones. You have to get used to living on your own. You have to get used to managing your own finances and health. You have to face adulthood... even if it still isn't in full force.
I've been living on University halls since the 10th of September and from then till now, I have made no actual friends. Of course my housemates are nice people and I talk to them, but I don't share with them on intimate levels as i did with those at home. You're only really cool because you all live together. You realize that you've spent a lot of time building that tight knit circle, and now you are away from them, you are going to need to find substitutes. That isn't always easy. People are different, intellectually, emotionally you get the idea.
You realize that you have vastly different priorities from those around you because you are coming from extremely different situations. You have a burden on your back which is heavier than theirs because you are from a small island. They can fall back into society and no one would care if they had a slip up, you on the other hand... everyone and their granny will know your failure and your parents won't hear the end of it. So they remind you every day... remember what you left to do and even though the line gets annoying you never brush it off... because a lot of money and effort and time went in to get you there and you can't muck it up.
With all those concerns... you learn to put your life and priorities in perspective. I notice that a lot of students party and drink and muck about... I can't engage too much into that because on a personal level i know what's at stake.
You also learn a lot about how Black people really work. Black people in the Caribbean and Black people elsewhere are severely different. You don't automatically have Black friends because you look alike... you don't automagically become apart of the squad. If you seem a slight bit different... you'll be at arms length for a while until. However, it is important to note that you'll be okay.
You'll also learn that you are your favorite person because you know what you like to do. I hang out with myself in the park and surround myself in nature and that's the happiest that I feel honestly.
At University, I have learnt that people have issues with 'loneliness'. People are always hooking up. Its good to note that you do not have to. Every guy that smiles at you in the flashy light of the disco isn't worth your tongue.. because the next day he won't recognize you. My heart pains when i see random people just kissing because.. it's not going anywhere. Partying with yourself is also really great fun.
Food is your life. My appetite has grown exponentially and I have no idea why.
People will look at you weird when you go out and say no when they offer to buy you a drink. You don't need to be drunk to have fun. Sure alcohol is great... You don't need it to make the night any better or worse than it is.
Planning every detail of your day is helpful even when you never really stick to the plan. It gives you a sort of focus and order to your life so you don't feel flustered and waste time.
You will also learn who you are as a person. Those long periods of time spent alone give you room to explore and examine the concept of you as a person.
The Most important thing I've learned so far (because i'm still learning) is that University is going to be a wonderfully chaotic and rewarding experience. I will make lasting friendships. I will hit some hurdles but be joyous when i overcome them. I will face failure in the face and tell him "new phone who dis". I will learn balance between study and fun time. I will learn to relax and let people in. I will learn confidence and independence.
So Far, I'm liking my experience. I've settled into a steady routine that works, for now. I like my area, my school, my course work and my lecturers. I even like my room because its the first space that's ever been solely mine. At the end of it all when i'm graduating.. I'll look back on the 3 years which are now ahead of me and say i wouldn't trade them for anything.
- Annetta Jackson