COLUMN: Independence is not so scary after all

Deanna Swindell, Sports Editor

Being on your own is great. It is scary to have that kind of independence and responsibility, but once you figure it out life can be whatever you make of it.

My whole life I was always dependent on someone. I grew up with my twin sister next to me or always with my parents. Sometimes my sister and I would be in different classes when we were in elementary school, but that didn’t help me because I was the shy one and I struggled to make friends. In middle school, I became friends with her friends.

My mom is Salvadorian, so she is strict. This meant that my sister and I didn’t hang out with our friends much outside of school, so we always spent time with each other. It became a lot harder for me to be social. I graduated high school a year early and went to community college. My first day there was terrifying. I was in a new place by myself and I didn’t know how it would go.

I think back to that first day of community college and I laugh because of how nervous and anxious I was. I’ve grown up so much since then and have been able to live my life. At SFA, I wasn’t as nervous, but it was difficult for me to make friends. The first couple of weeks were difficult but then I learned that to make friends, you can’t keep yourself locked up in your dorm room.

The way that I made the wonderful group of friends I have today are from the Chi Alpha Christian Organization. Joining a school organization is a great and easy way to make friends when you first go to university.

Even though I was still very shy around these people when I went to an event they had, they were all welcoming. When I first meet new people, I don’t usually tell them right away that I have a twin sister. The main reason I do this is that everyone that knows us always sees us together. They either know us as Genesis— my twin sister’s name—and Deanna or as Genesis and her twin sister.

The friends that I have at SFA know me as Deanna. They’re my real friends, people who don’t just put up with me because I was their friend’s twin sister. Maybe that’s not how people saw me but that’s what it felt like.

Having moved away from home, I’ve become happier. When I went back home for the summer after the spring semester my family noticed how much happier and confident I had become. It was because I was studying and doing something that I loved, which is journalism, and I had such an amazing group of people around me.

It’s not always easy to be in a new place you don’t know and away from your parents, it’s scary. But when you find your way around, it becomes an experience you never want to leave behind. Cherish every moment of your four years in college and don’t ever take it for granted.

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