Notes From an Average Girl | O-week: An introvert’s nightmare

Notes from an Average Girl is a biweekly, relatable blog about navigating college life.

By Madeline Milchman, Staff Writer

As my first year comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on my preconceived notions about college. Like many high school seniors, I had high expectations about my experience moving away from home. In the first few weeks of college, when these expectations weren’t immediately met, I grew homesick and questioned if I was where I was meant to be.

Little did I know, my college experience wouldn’t be love at first sight. Even when I was touring colleges, I never had that meant-to-be moment with Pitt. Pitt was a compromise compared to the fancy, expensive city schools I had dreamed of, like New York University and Boston University. But, when I compared myself to the people around me, it seemed like I was the only one feeling that way.

I often say to my friends, “You couldn’t pay me any sum of money to go back to O-week.” This statement usually prompts disagreement and a series of reminiscent memories about the good times we had during first-year orientation week. While I wouldn’t trade these memories for the world, for me, there was a lot more to orientation than just the fun times.

I’m an introvert. I always have been. Most of the time, I’d rather sit alone with a book than with a big group of people. But being in a new environment, five and a half hours from home, it was imperative that I made new friends, which was the hardest adjustment for me.

I’ve known my friends back home my whole life, from childhood until now. I never felt the need to span beyond my five to six close friends. That being said, before moving to college, I didn’t have very much experience in the friend-making field.

Every day of O-week, I’d wake up and force myself out of the solitude of my dorm bed to mingle with strangers. My social battery would drain quickly, and I felt physically and emotionally exhausted the entire week.

When I finally found my group of people, I was grateful to be done with the socializing, but my expectations were still not met. I found myself frequently comparing my college friends to my home friends and feeling unhappy.

That’s when I began to wonder if moving away from everything I knew and loved was the right idea. I longed for the comfort of my bedroom, where I could be alone instead of sharing with a roommate. I wished I could hug my mom. I missed watching stupid TV shows with my dad. I began counting down the days until Thanksgiving break.

But then Thanksgiving break came. I was back home and happy, yet I missed those friends that I pushed myself to make during O-week. And when I returned to campus, I didn’t feel quite so out of place. Being away from Pitt made me realize all it had to offer that I couldn’t get at home.

In retrospect, I understand that I can’t compare friendships that have lasted almost two decades to people I’ve known for just a couple of months, but I grow closer with my college friends every day. So, no, you could not pay me to go back to O-week, but that doesn’t mean I regret it. I am entirely happy with my college experience, and I owe that to my friends.

The best advice I could give incoming first-years is don’t expect to immediately fall in love with college. Transitioning from home to moving away isn’t easy. You’ll feel homesick. You’ll feel lonely. But along with the hard emotions will be so many good ones. You’ll meet amazing people. You’ll explore a new city. You’ll adjust to your new life. It may not have been instant, but I eventually fell in love with college.