I reread Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell today. When I read that book, I can't help but imagine my freshman dorm room, a small little rectangle that barely fit two beds and two desks. When Cath's roommate asks if they want a couch in their room, I'm nodding my head in complete agreement when they agree that it won't work; is the couch going to take up the narrow walkway between the beds?
Freshman year was an awkward affair. I found myself staying up later than my social roommate, very non-socially working on homework, while girls ran up and down the hall, giggling or whatever it is people who had friends and lives did in halls, late at night.
Then I joined a rugby team, my own sisterhood. I made a friend with a boy who made me laugh and never studied and stumbled into a friendship with the girl next door who gave me courage. And life got better.
Reading Fangirl took me back there, to that awkwardness, to that loneliness, but also to the thrill of learning and studying and making friends and spending evenings doing silly, harmless things that made college worth remembering.... and I missed it. I really miss it.
I ache to realize those days are gone. Even if I were to re-enroll in college courses, I won't be going to the dorms or eating every meal in a cafeteria, although I'm really ok with that. Really.
Ach, it's hard growing up. It's hard realizing that you don't get to do it over again. It's done.
I think I'm mostly pausing because I'm facing a new start, a new step and, frankly, it's freaking me out. My first real job where I have to do real engineering and NOT mess up. I have to focus on making a career and eking out a living. I have to dress professionally and commute to work and be an adult who...I don't even know. What do adults do? I have to make friends and find ways to make my life meaningful and memorable...when I really just feel like that freshman girl who wandered around campus feeling lost, and small, and insignificant, and alone.