By: Katie Kortkamp, Sophomore
Today is the first day of classes and I’m officially a sophomore! After doing some reflecting on my first year at NCC and all that happened, I’ve come to the conclusion that expectations and comparisons majorly got in the way of my first year experience. Majorly. And because of that, I wanted to share with you a piece of my story and what I’d tell my freshman self today: comparison compromises the present.
The summer before my freshman year was CRAZY: full of lists of school supplies to get at Target, mental lists of where my classes were going to be, heavy emotions, and a huge list of things to get to put in my room and make it my own. I remember sitting in my basement talking to the girls in my high school small group. Naturally we were talking about our future and what was to come. Most, okay, actually all, of the girls in my small group were going off to schools that run on semesters and they were getting very antsy and ready to go. They had all of their stuff ready, they knew their roommates’ names, they knew what color scheme they were going to use in the dorm room with their roommates, and they had everything figured out. I just listened in excitement knowing that my time would come soon.
A few days later, the dreaded time came when people started to leave. To date, these were the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to go through. And pretty soon after that, my Instagram and Facebook feeds started blowing up with pictures of college. Pictures filled my screen of orientation weeks, #bestroomie hashtags, and people glowing from happiness. I was so ready to begin this journey I could hardly stand it! I loved seeing my friend’s pictures, but I was very ready to live it myself.
Finally came my time to arrive to campus. I moved in, hung pictures and lights on the walls, and jumped right in. But something was different. About a week into welcome week, my only friend was my roommate. I didn’t have a group of friend’s like my small group people had. I wasn’t glowing with happiness like my friend’s in their pictures. I was expecting to meet someone just like me during orientation. Instead, I kept to myself, told a girl that I liked her shirt and went through my day.
Very slowly throughout the year, comparison started to take over. My expectations of instant friendships and happiness hadn’t come. Coming home for Christmas and Spring Break was fun, but it was hard for me to hear all the adventures that my friend’s were having at their schools. Yeah, I had made some awesome friends at Focus (North Central’s interdenominational student-led ministry), but my friend went to Yosemite National Park for a weekend trip… oh my gosh. And yeah, I really love the size of my school and that it’s more personal, but my best friend is planning on rushing this spring semester so fun! And instead of being happy and celebrating my friend’s adventures and happiness, I envied it. It went downhill very quickly from there.
This summer I was very convicted of the power that comparison has, especially today. This generation is all about the Snapchat stories, Instagram filters, and Facebook updates. I got caught up in this, and it took over my freshman year. I looked at my friends and instantly compared their experiences to mine. This comparison led to jealousy, and the jealousy led to bitterness. Bitterness towards everything and everyone. It totally took control. Instead of finding the things I loved about North Central and reminding myself of the reasons I chose to go to school here, I was bound in my bitterness-escaping into my friend’s realities versus being present in my own.
After all this, I encourage you, especially first year students, to not let yourself fall into the trap that I did. To not look at pictures of your friend’s campus and compare it to your own. To remind yourself that you are here for a reason. That you chose this school for a reason. There is so much for you to do, learn, see, experience, and live out here at North Central. This is just the beginning. So I dare you to live it up! Notice the little things, appreciate the people you meet, be present, and take every opportunity to jump out of your comfort zone a bit. Don’t get caught up in comparison this year. I promise you, it’s not worth it.