And So It Begins

I’m perfectly happy getting to know people at a tea in a nice sit down setting with cards or Jenga, something like that.

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University. I made it to university. Yay me.

Oh well, not really so much of me. Every major (and minor) accomplishment in my life is really by the grace of God. By myself, I would have failed A levels. Repeated, even. But by his mercy which I now know for sure exists since my whole life relies on it, I made it.

Now, to actually live a decent university life and not screw up too much. HA. Well, we all know that could never happen.

Today was actually the first day I met and properly make friends with the people I will be studying with for the next 4 yours of my life. I’m going to study English Literature and it sounds good so far. I’m actually technically a science student, taking up Bio and Chem in A levels. Well that worked out splendidly and by splendidly I really mean not-so-well (C and D respectively but hohoho NO U!) so I gave that up and switched to the arts, more accurately, English. English was something I excelled consistently and enjoyed very much anyway so I thought it’d be good to study something I actually care about and do for a living. Literature wasn’t what I did well in, though, in Sec 2. So I was a little bit antsy about taking an arts subject now. Hopefully, I had outgrown that somewhat.

I didn’t want to give myself too much pressure about not screwing up because if there was anything I learnt it’s that the more you pressure yourself, you get even more self-conscious and become a nervous wreck. And an idiot.

I didn’t go for any of the orientation camps and all that stuff because cheering and playing strange games with people I didn’t know with something like 3 hours of sleep at night just turns me off. I’m perfectly happy getting to know people at a tea in a nice sit down setting with cards or Jenga, something like that. It’s all the action games that get me. Isn’t the point of orientation getting to know people? Doing action games with daunting forfeits just scares me and it doesn’t really give you a chance to talk to know people anyway. Which kinda defeats the purpose of orientation. Also, lack of sleep makes me a grumpy person. I cannot make friends when I’m grumpy. So. That’s that in my humble opinion anyway.

This pretty much left me very alone since I didn’t recognise anyone from English. There was a welcome ceremony which I got by by leeching onto one of my mates from secondary school who was studying Economics. She was with her whole bunch of mates from the orientation so I tried to keep enough distance that wouldn’t count as shameless imposition on their space. I also met one or two people from different walks of life whom I missed dearly and we had a great few minutes catching up. Sadly, none of them were studying English so it’s back to square one.

I suppose I should have seen the friendlessness coming. I kind of figured I would make friends along the way, in the course of study which I still believe I will. But there was the in between transition of not knowing people. Yet. So I was just wondering if I should like, start a conversation to somebody who doesn’t look like they don’t already know somebody. And as an introvert, this takes a lot of self-motivation, self-talk and willpower. Which I had to take a long time to psyche myself into. If someone approached me first, though, I was completely ready to be friendly and all. My friend-radar was activated.

Before I could go on this long process of psyching myself up, lo, a girl came up to me and I made friend number 1! She was the extrovert sort. You can hear it in the natural, non self-conscious way she spoke although I knew she also had to psych herself up to approach people. But she spoke in a way that made me feel at complete ease at once, like an old friend, and I responded completely the same as myself, the ‘fun’ myself that I take a while to show to people (not because I don’t want to but I couldn’t yet. Some things take time). She also hadn’t been to any orientation at all and was trying to make friends with people in the same boat with her. I’m just glad she found me. She tried to rope in another boy into our new group of two who was standing a little ways off and absorbed with his phone. He was the quiet type, though, but nice, I’m sure. He was, at least, gentleman to offer to throw our plates when we were through with lunch even though small talk wasn’t his forte. Just after matriculation, we (or mostly my new bff) roped in another dude to make an equal foursome to our odd group. I didn’t really get to talk to this dude because we got split up for something else but from the few minutes of saying his and introducing ourselves, he seems like a swell dude too. We now have a whatsapp group of 4 and I’m so glad and proud to be in it. Haha.

I always feel a bit like the wing-girl. Just leeching on to other people and supporting them and stuff. And I don’t mind not being the main character. I like this little odd role I’ve cast myself in. Unfortunately, it’s not something I want to be moulded into, not for university. I’d wanted to break out from my shyness and fear of everything to be able to speak up and ask questions and be an all-round friendly person and student who contributes instead of being a wallflower. But that takes a lot of energy. I mostly want to be more outspoken, I suppose, because I always felt that people might get frustrated with me if I don’t appear to be making an effort. Most of the times, I really have nothing intelligible to say. I’m working on the small talk thing which seems to be better now. But sometimes when I have things to say, I don’t because I’m scared of being judged and all that stuff. And that’s the bit I want to change. I mean, it’s English I’m going to be studying, for crying out loud. I need to get out of this rut. Classes will be really discussion based and for myself, I want to be in the discussions. I’m thankful that at least no one knew me before so they don’t know how I’m like in class and it won’t be shocking to them if I ask questions and all that because I’m previously so quiet in junior college and stuff. I just hope I don’t get cast into that mould again so quickly. But being more outspoken is not natural for me and if that takes up too much of my energy, I might give up on it. I don’t want to give up on it.

The last bit was a bit of orientation, real orientation around the school. We were taken by a very friendly senior who was lively and engaging and helpful and friendly. And it’s these kind of people that make me a nervous wreck because my head will go ‘oh man she’s so cool and she’s so nice’ and I so don’t want to make a fool of myself to the point that I don’t trust myself to speak so while the other 4 in our group gets a healthy conversation going, I kind of drop to the back and just take it all in. With nothing really intelligible to say or ask. One part of that is that I don’t know what I don’t know and I don’t know what to ask even though I don’t know a lot of things. And I also kind of snubbed the other girl in the little orientation group. My new-found friends had been separated from me to do their orientations so I was with a new batch of people now. I wasn’t proud that I’d snubbed her. And it wasn’t her fault that I was being a meanie. It was just me.

The thing is, she just reminded me, both in personality and appearance, of a girl I didn’t like in junior college. This girl wasn’t mean outrightly or bad or lazy or untidy or anything really intolerable, I suppose, but I just couldn’t stand her. There are some people who just bring out the worst in you, some people that you just cannot stand for some reasons and have no patience with them. It was unfortunate that this girl fell into that category for me and that this other girl resembled the first. While this new girl tried, in her introverted manner to make small talk (much like how I would have after long hours of psyching myself if my new bff hadn’t come up to me first), I did nothing to help her or to keep any kind of small talk going. I was trying to listen to what the senior was saying and pointing out, something I felt was truly important, but I confess I didn’t make an effort to small talk new girl. She initiated some standard small talk questions and I answered them and returned them and she would answer and that would be it. I think she kind of gave up after a while. So I practically turned mute on this last leg of the day. I just hope I didn’t do that thing I usually do, make myself out to be a douche. I’d ask the senior for her number in case I needed help (which I thought I might after I figure out what was going on) and to her credit, she didn’t seem any colder to me than to anyone else although she might be thinking why I’m a mute and lacking in character. Or maybe not. But that’s what I think she might think about and that eats me and makes me feel smaller than ever. Being a meanie didn’t help.

On the car ride home, I felt terrible. I felt really… like I let God down. Didn’t He say to love the unlovable? Since He loved me, flawed in so many ways, should I not go love others who I find hard to love? For His glory? Am I not the salt and the light of the world that He has called me to be? And yet in that moment of selfishness and tiredness, I allowed myself to hide my light under a bowl and refused the call to love. And it made me feel sick and bitter inside, all the things they would think of me not being the best I could be. It was a long car ride, but by the end of it, I asked God for forgiveness and or now at least, being her friend, being nice and loving her doesn’t seem that hard (at least in my mind) anymore. In fact, I’m very ready to be nice to her when I see her next week and make it up to her. She probably thinks I’m snubbing her and I don’t know how to apologise but I really mean to make it up to her and be friendly and all. She’s not lesser than me. She doesn’t need my friendship and I shouldn’t have put myself so high up above her. Aaahh, ok that felt a lot better. Just getting it out of the system. It’s not righted now but I hope it’ll be alright next week and that it won’t be too late to make it up to her.

When you reach university, though, a lot of people start to look like people you used to know. A lot. If not in appearance, speech and personality. I almost feel like whipping out my camera to take pictures with absolutely strangers, put the picture of my friend next to it and prove my point. And for better or for worse, that actually affects me. The boppy senior who gave us a tour also reminded me very much of someone else to the point that it I look away from her I have no idea what she looks like in my mind’s eye because all I can see is my friend. It’s quite mind blowing actually, to see these young adults dress and act in accordance to what they emulate and think is cool. It’s kind of like Sims.

Anyways, that concludes my first meet up with these people and university life.

OH MAN I’M OLD.

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