Lately as I've been stalking on Facebook and just talking with random friends I've noticed a "longing" -- for lack of a better word -- for the "undergrad days" or "undergraduate fun". I haven't felt that AT ALL since I graduated in May 2008. I wonder if that's weird? I mean, there are reasons, I think, why I feel this way, and the biggest one I think is that several of the friendships that I thought were solid, good friendships seemingly dissolved in the span of a week. Unfortunately that week was ACS New Orleans, which was supposed to be a good time! I hated it, and had a lousy time. That's really unfortunate because my other conference experiences were fantastic. Now that time has provided some perspective, I can talk about without some anger. I also sit there and ask, um, OK, so you want to be without money and would you really be happy with an endless repeat of class, test, drink, class test, drink...I don't about you, but that got old after about two or three repeats...
Junior year of college was AMAZING. I pretty much enjoyed every minute of it. I loved all my classes, research, and just thoroughly enjoyed it. The group of people I was around at the time all got along rather well, and we spent time together outside of class. A lot of us went to Germany that summer as well. We get back to school however and the mood had changed. Wanting the "Summer of Love" to continue I was looking forward to the year. Turns out that maybe we had been overexposed. It took a few months for it all to sink in, and I was probably distracted by the fact that I spent most of my time after ACS Boston getting ready for Armenia (which was fantastic, see my blog about that!). Had I not been involved in that it probably would have happened before Christmas. Some of it also involved someone that I wanted to maybe be more than friends with...so infatuation may also have occluded reality (since of course that never happens).
Then basically January to March just SUCKED!
I get back from a great time in Armenia, and back to classes, but something just didn't seem the same. It felt really awkward. Looking back I think the biggest change was me, and that I had begun moving in a new direction, but I hadn't fully realized that moving forward is much better than moving backward, and that my new directions didn't necessarily mean I could keep old ones. Due to that I felt really isolated and alone. Just to make the story better was the situation with my roommate. There was no ugliness, no bad blood, or anything like what is often seen between roommates. Up until then we hung out a lot in the evenings, which was great for me because it let me unwind from classes, and I had a stressful class schedule. Well, just before I left for Armenia he found himself in a relationship. Cool for him, right? Well, for a while I found myself by myself at home with the roommate and the girlfriend...which was exceedingly awkward for some reason. Cue more feeling alone. You might say, well, why didn't I just go out and find something to do...easier said than done when I still had a lot to do because I was taking the class from Hell (PCHEM, which also saps your spirit) among other things, and remember things with my other friends were awkward. Thank God for Steele and DM or I would have been completely miserable.
So, that was a cycle of horrible, miserable PCHEM, awkwardness around chemistry friends, and awkwardness at home that continued from late February to late March, then it hit the fan, and just exploded in my head all at once. Rewind just a bit. I bought my ticket to New Orleans while I was still in Armenia because the tickets were cheap ($179 round trip), and all anybody was hearing on the news was how much oil had spiked, so of course the rational thing was to buy tickets BEFORE the airlines raised their prices. I passed this on to people, and most actually bought their tickets, all of course except those with whom I'd made arrangements to stay. Knock me over with a feather, right? Looking back I'm not sure why I was so surprised because I called the event well beforehand... Well when the light bulb finally clicked on in their heads of course ticket prices had almost doubled as oil had sky rocketed...What do said friends decide to do..they buy a package deal through a website three weeks before we're due to leave (way too late for a conference considering all the deals were gone). All good and well, except when it came time for hotel, suddenly it became prohibitively expensive for me to stay with them because to add me would've driven the price up from their prearranged price through the website so I'm told. Bullox I say to that because I would have been paying the difference! It was obvious to me that I was not wanted around. You know what, it's fine if you don't want me around but DON'T screw me over at the last minute because you don't have the guts to tell me straight up. At that moment everything I had been feeling boiled over. I didn't get outwardly angry and didn't say anything to anybody, but inside I was livid, and seething with rage. I felt like a pest and a bother, in other words embarrassed. I ended up having to stay by myself (not cheap) because I had made arrangements that had then been yanked out from under my feet. Also, while we were there because I was staying alone it wasn't easy to do things with people, and even though I made an effort to suggest things to do I felt I wasn't included. People who had told me they would call for food or going out never called. It would be a fluke if it only happened once, but over and over with several different people. I wasn't asking for concrete plans, but everybody wants to feel included, and I felt like I was having to force myself upon my "friends." Cue feeling a pest and a bother again. After the second day I finally said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I remember watching Gorillas in the Mist that night on television (funny the things you remember) and barely being able to see straight I was so angry. I was angry at the situation, angry at them, but most of all I was angry with myself for being foolish enough to put myself in that situation. I barely said anything to anybody the next morning as we went to the airport and instead pretended to do work. I hate feeling like a pest or a bother, and these were supposed to be my friends and people I wanted to spend time with, yet I was making a fool out of myself...Why shouldn't I be angry? After that it was over for me. I wish I could say my little hissy fit in New Orleans was a one off, but my feelings of anger and embarrassment remained...for months. I think one of the smartest things I've ever done was to not say anything about it at the time because I was venting my anger at three or four specific people. Some of the anger looking back was understandable, but not all of it. I STILL feel like I was shafted, however. I hit a precipice. I felt that if I had created the situation for myself then I would just remove myself from the situation. I wonder if people noticed a change in my demeanor or presence? I wasn't making an effort to have people notice a change in my behavior, but I'll be damned if I was going to go out of my way for them like before when I tried to be accommodating. Why bust my hump for people who obviously didn't give a hoot about me. Wish them well but I became a little more selfish after that. I also became much less apologetic. Again, thank God for Steele and DM, because without them I would have been completely miserable at school those last eight weeks.
Those last eight weeks I just went through the motions. I went to class, didn't really say much, and kept to myself. I was still very angry, and I had to be around the people that I was angry at all the freakin' time. Graduation came and went, and like high school, I was very ready to go. It makes me sad sometimes to think about it because unlike high school I enjoyed most of college, but the end sucked. Everybody I've spoken to about it says they had a semester that was terrible. It's just unfortunate that mine was the last one, and for now seems to be what I think of FIRST when I think about undergrad. It certainly wasn't all bad. DM asked me to be in his wedding and I've been to Arizona twice to see Steele, so I can say I left GCSU with two solid friends, and that's definitely something good! Hopefully time will soften the bad memories and I'll get better about thinking about the great things that came out of that horrible semester. I just wish I could have learned sooner, and honestly that's the one thing I've taken out of it -- if it isn't there, it isn't there and my time is too valuable to waste.
Fast forward to now, almost two years later I think I'm a much happier, better, and smarter person for having gone through it. I wish I hadn't been stupid and learned my lesson a little earlier, but what can you do? I certainly wouldn't want to rewind.