Thursday, 21 May 2015

Here's To Friends // My School To College Transition

Tomorrow, 22nd May 2015, will be my last ever day at college. Writing this now, I'm getting all emotional, but it's something I wanted to do all along. I guess I just wanted to talk through how I've changed and thank everybody for everything.

At secondary school, I was a bit of an outcast. For years, I was bullied, and absolutely petrified of the girl who did it. Due to this, I developed severe social anxiety and depression. I wouldn't talk to anybody, and the school system did barely anything to help until the girl moved away for her own reasons. My ex-boyfriend was my only consolation at the time. From the end of year eight to the start of year ten, I found that all my old friends changed into people I didn't really like and it wasn't until I came back into contact with an old primary school friend that I found somebody I could hang out with and could talk to (that wasn't him). She massively helped me come out of my shell. We knew we could always come around to each others' houses if we needed a chat, or ring each other when something went wrong. She introduced me to her friends. We started a vlogging channel on YouTube and it was probably because of this that I found my sense of humour around other people again. My ex started to become jealous that I'd become close to somebody else, and that caused problems of its own.

Nonetheless, I continued to grow as a person. When it came to the end of year eleven and we had to start deciding where to go next, I was torn. At the time it was a choice between sixth form in my area and college in the city. For years I'd felt like I needed to escape from where I lived and the problems of my past, and I convinced myself that the next few years of my life would be hell if I didn't. I also felt like I didn't have any friends in my area because, instead of sympathising with the fact that I was bullied, it seemed like some people lost a lot of respect for me instead - years down the line, I still feel this way. It was time for me to spread my wings and try something new, but that meant leaving my boyfriend behind. I decided to take the leap and have faith. Shortly after I started college in the city, we broke up.

By this time I had made some friends in my AS year. The primary school friend I talked about went to the same place, but we took completely different lessons and went as individuals. I was amazed at how easy I found it to talk to people I didn't know! Away from my area, I felt like a new person. For the first time in my teenage life I felt like I was part of the "popular crowd" - no kidding, there were probably around twenty of us. The first year, for the most part, was amazing. At several points I was probably more distracted from my studies, with parties and stuff, than I should have been. My friends and I were always hanging out, but, like my ex and I, we grew apart.

Amazingly though, the people I used to hang out the most with then, are the people I don't speak to at all now. AS level results divided us. More than half of our group failed, decided to drop out, or simply started hanging around with new people. As much as I would have loved to have remained friends with everyone, it became too difficult and too stressful to be pulled in so many different directions. Luckily, I was one of the ones who did make it back to my A-level year (barely). After a year being single, I allowed myself a chance at another relationship (I'm happy to say it's still in progress). I talked more to the people I didn't get much chance to hang around with last year: Emily, Harrison and Manleen. They are the most lovely and supportive people I've ever met. The parties didn't end though - there's always the odd house party. But A-levels have been hard. I seemed to fail every piece of coursework I've done this year, and now I find myself having to make up for it in the exams. My last two are in June.

What I'm really trying to say is, the people I've met have helped me to grow so much, even if they didn't realise it. There are going to be many tears on my last day tomorrow because I don't think I can bear to say goodbye to Manleen, Emily or Dec (I've already had to say goodbye to Harrison when he dropped out to pursue an apprenticeship). Manleen, despite all the drama we've been through together, has shown me the value of true friendship. We have never argued or done anything really to hurt each other - it's just all positive vibes and fun. I'm going to be devastated when she goes to Uni, but hopefully we'll still make time for each other. Emily is one of the loveliest people I've met and one of the only people I trust in the world. She never hesitates to hear me out when I'm stressed or give me compliments when I really need to hear them. I'm not going to be soppy on here about Dec, but he's helped me probably the most.

And to all the people who've walked away, thank you, too; because you've helped me learn something and see who my real friends are. I'm lucky to have friends who accept me as I am and don't judge me, despite my past and my awkwardness. If you haven't been mentioned, please don't think I love you any less. Thank you to everyone who's stood by me even during my shitty decisions - I'm going to miss you so much.

Meaghan x

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