Welcome to College: Part 2 – Autumn, and Finding A Rhythm

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I have learned to appreciate the simple beauty of our school’s lakefill, to love cloudless skies and a light breeze because they are fleeting, and to sit on the grass with a friend and talk about anything and everything.

When I was in tenth grade, they told me that we were now grownups, that we wouldn’t have to hold hands or walk in lines. But they still did roll call and had our parents fill out permission slips, and we did everything in groups. We were herded around like sheep. But that was high school. This is college now.

A few days ago, I was dropped off at Michigan Avenue on a school-sponsored trip. They didn’t take down my name, they didn’t ask for my phone number. They told us where to meet at a certain time and let us roam free…

Here, there is the mixing of grades, and you aren’t restricted to your graduation year. Class of 2018 students can become editors for school publications (holla at yo gurl) and make varsity tennis (nope, not me) but meanwhile be completely undecided and continue to be that way for the next few months or so, switching schools like snap that.

I forget that people don’t know who I am. In some ways, I get to paint a whole new picture for myself, and have established myself here as ‘Cat’.

I forget that I am here for more or less four whole years, that I am literally in my second week of school, that what has happened thus far doesn’t have to determine anything if I don’t want it to, that nothing is set, that everyone wants to make friends but everyone is as nervous as I was (am).

The people here are all over the spectrum. A few are like me, believing the same things. I never would have thunk it! I thought I was alone!

Here, I am constantly surrounded by young kids, and I seem to have forgotten the functions of a family. So when I see families taking walks on campus or tour groups exploring classrooms, I am reminded of me, a year ago, equally as undecided as I am right now, a bit more confused. It’s a bittersweet feeling to feel for my sister’s hand and not find it.

But there are also people unlike me, with the ability to teach me things I never would have realized by myself, to force me to think and rethink everything I thought I knew. There are people unlike me who have incredible skill in something like dancing, so that if I (hypothetically) attended a dance class, would be extremely humbled and reminded by my body’s lack of grace and flexibility.

But we all need to be humbled…we were seniors at our prime, and now we are fresh meat (you see what I did there??)

Alex Wiley actually tweeted at me…



  1. Pingback: Introducing my new series: “Sophomore Spotlight” | Catherine Zhang
  2. sirtophatboy

    Hi Catherine… I somehow stumbled upon your blog. And I must say I found the whole experience an engaging read. You articulate every step of your worries and fears so vividly well. This post more than anything resonates with me as I well remember my own sojourn into the murky waters of competitive college (it will get competitive, if it hasn’t already). It was refreshing to revisit the experience through your post. Will definitely be following your journey with great interest, and hope it the process I’ll get to know you through here and vice versa.



    • catdiggedydog

      Hi sirtophatboy, I’m glad you enjoyed my writing. A lot of thought and editing went into this one…I’m glad that others such as yourself are able to sympathize with me.
      I’ve heard it gets competitive, and I’m just trying to anticipate and brace myself for that! Thanks for followin, and reading :)


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