If any of you are like me, university was more than the next step in education or a stepping stone to maturity. It may be an escape from an environment that may not have been the best to you. It could be a new beginning away from people who know you, maybe even a refuge from those people. For me, coming to university was all of the above, and I happened to choose a university known for being open and understanding. As great as it is, though, you can’t always prevent people back home from coming back into your life. Social media can be a beautiful thing – how else would I be keeping in touch with my old coworkers and my good friends from far away – but it can also be downright ugly at times. Anyone who follows me on Twitter has probably seen some tweets between me and an old friend that just don’t match with my general ramblings about Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and my friends at Glendon – in lieu of that, I present 5 Ways to Leave Your Past (and its problems!) Back Home!
1: Friends Are More Than A Number
When you add a friend on Facebook, or follow someone on Twitter, or create a relationship with anyone on a social media platform, it is by no means permanent. Sometimes we can get very attached to numbers – like, ZOMG I have so many more followers than you!! – and we don’t want to lose a single one on our sites. The reality is that most of the people you add are people you may not ever even see again (think parties, trips, awkward Starbucks convos, etc) or people who you interact with rarely on a daily basis. These are people you may not really know well – do you really want to give them access to your personal network? You might rethink that followback or request acceptance when you start hearing things from the nice person at Starbucks who happens tto talk about you behind your back. Super awks, yes, but you would have been blissfully ignorant of those ramblings otherwise and likely happier.
2: Even Your Close Friends Change
This is something I’m particularly weak to. I had friends from Grade 8 on Facebook, as well as a bunch of people from camps I went to and former jobs. These were people I had a real relationship with, but guess what: real relationships ‘break and burn and end’ too (shout out Taylor Swift for that beautifully depressing lyric. merp). Your best friend could backstab you, your coworkers grow bitter that you got a job elsewhere, or some crazy rumour turns half the town against you (the unfortunate reality of every small town kid ever). You don’t need to stay in online contact with these people when they refuse to talk to you in person. You’re just going to hurt yourself. Go ahead, push the delete button, throw out an unfollow; good Lord you might even have to use the power of the block! If people are hurting you, be a bit wary and consider deleting them. If you use social media to muse about your feelings (possibly not the best idea, but I’m guilty as charged) it is especially important to do this. If it works out, and they’re as good of friends as you think they are, having to re-add or follow them will not likely be the sticking point when you’re mending the friendship. In the time being, delete away! I recommend doing so with some ice cream, a cat, and maybe more depressing Taylor Swift. Tissues are recommended.
3: Don’t Be Lured In.
So here I am, about to be a hypocrite. I have an unfortunate tendency of needing the last word, especially on social media. I’m not known for letting things go too easily, and especially recently I find myself refusing to let people try to get me down. While confidence is a good thing, so is maturity. I would suggest all of the above attitudes are an example of my still-maturing confidence – I’m starting to be sure in myself, but I still have a tendency to use that confidence negatively. Let’s say you’re on Twitter and, between your friends telling y’all about their Timmies experience, P!nk offering early ticket access, and WHAT BATH AND BODY WORKS HAS A SALE!!!!…. you find a tweet calling you out on something. Like, your bio and your self-labeling as a runner. Before you rapidly start firing off 140 character insults, pause and take a deep breath: is it really worth it? If it is, does it need to be done in front of all your other followers, which could include your friends/teachers/parents/boss who might not like what you have to say? Chances are the answer is no. If you can hold off and not say anything, congratulations. You save yourself a lot of stress. If not, well, at least you kept it out of the public view and between you and the frustrated twitterfight-starter. That’s also laudable. You should now refer to Step 2 and block that bitty, as soon as possible.
4: Get Out There and Stay Busy
If people back home and your past are giving you hell, the best way to get back at them is not responding. Get out there and have some fun! University is an amazing place to meet new people, who quite often will want to go out on the town and do some of the wildest things you’ve ever considered doing. As long as it’s not illegal, get out there and do it! You distract yourself from the situation, are reminded that there are plenty of people who accept and love you for who you are, and get to create a life memory. Chances are those people will also be happy to have your back in whatever drama is going down. The important thing is, you’re forcing yourself to move on. Instead of staying home refreshing Twitter or Facebook every minute, or glaring at your iPhone for the next text, you’re out having the time of your life. Now isn’t that just so much more fulfilling? You get bonus points if you take pictures and the people back home get to see just how happy you are. They’ll realize they can’t mess with you anymore. Score 1 for you, nothing for da haterz.
5: Find Someone You Trust, and Process
This step is a bit vague, mostly because it is completely different to everyone. When you’re dealing with things that really hurt you, you can’t do it yourself. No one can. You’ll destroy yourself in the process, or at least bring down your marks or become antisocial. You have to have someone or something to support you – so get out there and establish a support system (re: #4). For some people this step could be their parents, or their god, or even their cat. I am guilty of rambling to my cat. Of all choices, this is probably the weakest one, but, I mean, they’re just so damn cute! And so confide-able. And fluffy. You can find them in the most random places and call them Meow-Meow and carry them blocks away from their house and talk to them and…
Yeah. So I’m in cat withdrawal.
The point is you’re never alone. Glendon offers a lot of resources to help you if you find yourself in a bad situation, don’t be afraid to use them! Your resident neighbour may be like me, in that the door is always open, hot drinks are always ready, and a comedy is on standby. People like helping other people because it makes us feel better about ourselves in the process.
So there you have it, five ways to get over your past and move on. It’s high time for me to take my own advice with this. I also apologize because this post got really long and wordy and dramatic and almost personal. If you finished it, you deserve a certificate. I do think this is important to think about when you move to university, however – you can leave the baggage back home and not go back if you don’t want to.
I might have been extra introspective because of Taylor Swift’s new song. Check it out – it’s called Begin Again.
All the best to you all,