Life experience ·4.4·
From Graphic Design to Economics to Japanese – The path of failures, experiences and trying to follow your dreams and passions IV
Searching for a place to fit in
My university was located in a small town in the Black Forest. The lectures began in March and when I arrived there, it was still cold and the ground was still covered in snow. Schwenningen is a quiet city with two universities. The population consisted of mainly students and older people. My father found a small apartment close to the university. We weren’t very satisfied with it, but it was the only apartment with a reasonable price that we found last minute. The move was quick and it was the first time for me to live alone. The welcoming ceremony for the new students was already the next day. I think that I should have been excited because a new chapter of my life was beginning, but now that I think about it, I think that I felt lonely, out of place. I didn’t really feel like that I belonged there. I found out a few weeks earlier that a former classmate was going to study the same subject as me. We have already been chatting for a while now, since we met each other when we visited the university to see what they had to offer. Then I suggested meeting up on the day of the welcoming ceremony and she agreed. However we didn’t agree on a time and I didn’t contact her again because she told me that she already got to know some other people who were going to study the same thing, I also didn’t want to push myself on her since we weren’t really close. So I went there alone and sat down in between of all the other new students, listening to the director’s speech and the introductions of a few new teachers. I don’t remember what else I did that day. I probably went home to think about what might happen the next day. The students were invited to eat breakfast together the next morning, so I went there pretty early. There weren’t many students yet, so I chose an unoccupied table to sit down. A few moments later I looked up and saw a girl approaching me to ask whether the seat next to me was free. As the time went by, more students arrived and a few people who knew that girl sat down with us. I managed some smalltalk but I still felt stiff talking. However I thought that I finally found some people who I could hang out with, since they seemed very nice.
We still had some more chances to get to know each other and meet the other classmates, because we had to participate in a Teambuilding event somewhere in an isolated cottage in the forest the next two days and we had to manage to get up there ourselves. That meant that the students who had cars now had the task to get everyone up there. We somehow managed to get everyone a seat and I got in the car with a guy. It was so awkward, because the other cars were occupied by more than two people and in this car it was just me and him. I tried to build up a conversation but failed miserably. I wasn’t good at talking and he wasn’t really talkative. It’s usually easier for me if the other person talks more than me, because then I just need to listen and answer. If you don’t know the person well, silence can get really uncomfortable. It’s okay with friends, because you know both, that it is okay to be silent from time to time, that there is no need to talk constantly. The fact that he drove as fast as possible and the fact that I had nowhere to escape to, didn’t make that situation any better.
The Teambuilding event consisted of a few exercises that we all had to participate in, to form a bond with each other and such. Furthermore we had to cook dinner ourselves, all in all it was quite fun. I spoke with the people I got to know the other day and yet I still went to bed early which was unusual because I never go to bed before midnight. I don’t think that I was that tired, I just didn’t have the urge or a reason to stay up longer.
The next morning I woke up early and cleaned up the dinner room with an Indonesian friend and another guy. I was thankful for the quietness and peace in the morning. I did some leftover dishes from the day before, when one by one, the other students woke up. I think that deep within, somehow I thought that if I was helpful, I will be more likeable and it might be easier to make friends. However this wasn’t the case at all. There are people who are honestly thankful for what you are doing and might even offer some help and there are people who are just glad that they don’t have to do it, since there are already enough people for that task and thus they think that their help is not necessary. Some would say that it was my own fault, because I also could have leave it as it was, not to care at all and leave it to other people. However that would make me the same as them. Or you can just call me naive.
After cleaning up the cottage we all returned home. I drove home with the guy from before again and it was as awkward as ever. I was glad when I could finally go home by myself. Then the lectures for the first semester began. Before applying for this university I saw that they offered language courses in Japanese and since I was already studying it since 2009, I decided to apply for that language course, too and luckily I got in.