Originally Posted September 21, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.
A few weeks ago, millions of adolescents packed up their childhoods, drove hundreds of miles, and started fresh in a new place for four small payments of $30,000!! It’s thrilling, exciting, and nerve-wracking all at the same time and thinking about it ties my stomach in knots. No one knows who you are or what your story is, yet labeling yourself as anything too early is social suicide. But what do I know? I’ve never gone through this before, and a couple of weeks ago, I too became one of these lost teenagers trying to figure out my life. There are a lot of reasons to be excited, and trust me, the good outweigh the bad. But here’s why my nerves are slowly eating away at my insides:
Teen culture in America has always revolved around the same thing. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. So far I’m one for three, and succeeding in keeping my track record low in the “Life experiences” column. I must clearly be a failed teenager with only having experience in the Rock n’ Roll category, but I wouldn’t trade my long nights of concerts for long nights of getting plastered if you gave me a million dollars. (Okay maybe for a million but…) If that’s the only wild thing I’ve achieved in the past 18 years of my life, I say I’m doing pretty well, (although the general public might disagree.)
Underage drinking, getting high, and hooking up with any living breathing *consensual* human being has always been the “cool” thing to do. Why? I still haven’t figured it out. I’ve spent the past two years thinking that maybe I’d finally understand before graduation, but the only thing I realized is that I’m extremely lucky that I can stay sober and have just as much, if not more fun than those risking it all for a “good time.” My senior year consisted of me freaking out about college. But wow who’s didn’t? The applications, scholarships, and decisions were hard enough as it is, but on top of that I had the added fear of what people would think of me, an innocent 18 year old who has never done anything remotely off the grid.
In my head I pictured walking in on the first day with a giant red “V” plastered on my forehead Rocky Horror Picture Show style. Everyone would know I was a virgin. But not any old average virgin, a Life Virgin. Never been drunk, never done drugs, never had sex. And immediately I would be judged, called innocent, and loose any street cred I thought I had. But hey at least I make my parents proud. 🙂
These thoughts consumed my mind this past year and I did everything in my power to change myself. But the fact of the matter is that I just didn’t want to be changed. Somewhere in my subconscious mind, my good conscience must have been waiting eagerly to give me advice, because anytime I came remotely close to doing something edgy, I stopped myself. Yet this lead me to even more stress about college.
Everyone knows college is for partying and I didn’t know my limits yet. Two thirds of kids my age have been doing this stuff throughout high school and know how to play the game. I instead chose to ~follow the law~ and now I’m considered the minority. The “V” on my forehead shined brighter as we get closer and closer to move in weekend and here I am still sober as ever. And here’s why it’s okay. I discovered that I don’t want to be like every other kid in the world. I don’t need substances to help me make bad decisions, I make plenty of stupid choices on my own. I know that going into college with no experience with anything is dangerous.
I am worried about that, but I also know that I am the way I am because this is how I want to be in the future. I don’t want to get trashed every night. I don’t want to have meaningless hookups with people who treat me like an object. I want to make a future for myself and I want to be able to have fun without the aid of drugs. I have been able to succeed my entire life with these standards and I’m not quitting now.
I’m proud to be a Life Virgin. Although I don’t plan on parading around and announcing it to the world, I want others in my place to feel the same way too.
Don’t be ashamed that you chose to make good decisions. Nobody cares if you like to drink or not. Nobody cares if you’re 18 and still haven’t had sex. Nobody cares if you want to live your life differently. And if they do care, tell them to f*ck off.
The college experience is a scary one, but it’s going to be the best four years of your life. Every decision you make is what you make of it so be smart and think for yourself. You are strong. You are independent. You are beautiful.
Now go out there and show your campus who’s boss and don’t sweat the small stuff. You’re going to be successful af because you’re perfect just the way you are. ❤