I live in Hamburg, a beautiful city in the north of Germany. I like it there, I really do. I like to say that if the people were a little friendlier or slightly more open-minded, and if the weather was a little better throughout the year (we see a lot of clouds in Hamburg), I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else (well, in NYC and a few other places obviously – but then again, who doesn’t want that?).
Still, when the time came to choose a university, I decided against my home town. I’ve never really left it though. I still live there. In Germany, that’s possible. Students can live on campus but they don’t necessarily have to. When I started university, I wasn’t sure whether I was ready for the whole college experience at all, let alone moving out of home. Of course the thought sounded promising and exciting, but…
Before I knew what had happened, the first semester was over and I still lived at home. It was the time I found out about one of the major perks of still living with my family. While most of my friends had spent their money on rent, I had saved up enough to go on a four-week trip to Central America.
“How did you do that?” my friends from uni asked when I got back. “How did you even afford that?” – Well, I still live at home. I’ve always been one of the people that get along with their family amazingly well, so that’s certainly never been an issue. I enjoy my family’s company and we usually have a lot of fun together. There are other aspects though that I hadn’t given enough thought to.
First of all, I spend about four hours on public transport every day. Don’t get me wrong – it sucks big time, but it’s actually not as bad as you probably imagine. In case you’re wondering what one does on trains and buses for four hours: I watch people, I read a book, I look out of the window, I listen to music. Most of the time, I sleep. I don’t know what it is about trains but they make me tiiiired. I might be wide-awake when I get on board, but as soon as the train starts moving it knocks me out. Getting used to what sometimes feels like an around-the-world trip is a lot easier than you imagine.
What really bugs me is that I never feel like I’m completely in one place or the other. At the moment, I go to university every day almost every day (sometimes it really depends on my mood), I attend my classes and I leave again. When I get home two hours later, it’s either late, I’m tired, or I’m tired of being tired, meaning most of the days I don’t really do anything after I get home. Friendships can be tough to keep up sometimes.
It’s only another three months until I’ll get my proper share of college life since I’ll spend a semester in the US, so I guess I have something to look forward to after all. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this post to be a random complaint about somewhat crappy circumstances, because I was the one who’s made the decisions and the outcome certainly hasn’t been all bad.
Two years ago, I was scared of what might expect me once I’d start university. So in case you are at the point of making one of your first big life decisions and head off to college, this is what I want to tell you: It’s okay to be scared of the unknown future. I was scared of what might expect me, so I held back. Now, two years later, I look at all these people around me, and I can’t stop but wonder if I could have become one of them. In a way, I’ve never really gotten myself out there, I’ve never actually tried. When you go to university, you will meet people before you could even pronounce the word “lonely”, and you will make friends as you get to know each other. You just have to get yourself out there. That’s what I should have started doing two years ago. Because either way, whatever you end up doing, the future won’t ever be completely safe, so we might as well embrace it with all we’ve got.
Our time at college or university should be one of the best times of our lives. I think you should enjoy yours just like I should enjoy mine.