669 days ago, I packed up my car in New York and began my drive towards my new life. Ok, that’s a tad dramatic. It was just me moving to Ohio to start my job in the admissions office at my alma mater. However, it was still quite the experience because, not counting the treks between my college dorm and home, I have only moved twice that I can remember.
My move to Ohio was the first of these experiences, and it didn’t go anything like I hoped it would. I had received the job offer and was told that I needed to be in the office the following week which gave me only a few days to hurriedly find housing. Thankfully, a soon-to-be coworker whom I had known from college told me that his house had an open spot.
I was elated with this news because not only did it mean that I had a place to stay, but I also assumed that this would be the perfect follow-up to my dorm experience. Turns out, it was not. I moved in that first day feeling excited at the built-in community that I was sure would be waiting for me, but I soon realized that the long talks punctuated by late night Taco Bell runs that filled my college experience were apparently not going to happen in my new home.
In a dorm, your friendships develop out of the basic social psychology principle of close proximity. In non-technical terms, it means that you tend to become friends with those whom you share a jail-like set of rooms with. I figured that this would carry over to my new home, but it could not have been further from the truth.
The first sign of this came on day one when I expected to hang out with the guys in the house after work. I figured that we would have a thrilling time talking life and sharing experiences since I was so used to that being how things worked in the dorm. But the guys at the house had busy lives and weren’t available to spend the excess amount of time that it takes to recreate a dorm-like experience post-college.
It seems quite silly as I look back on that situation now, but it was a huge adjustment for me. I had never known what it was like to live with non-family members in a setting that wasn’t a dorm, so the shift in habits was jarring and led to a feeling of disconnection.
Over time, I did adjust to the style of my house. It was certainly different than what I had known before, but it showed me how meaningful adult friendships can be. I would never have thought it that first night, but the people in that house became friends whom I genuinely appreciate.
And here I am now, sitting on the floor of my new apartment bedroom writing this post. Adam and I are still living together, but we are now residents in a trendy, reclaimed, refurbished, authentic (I’ve run out of buzzwords) downtown loft.
Looking back on my fears and insecurities as a recent college graduate makes me realize how much I’ve grown in the past two years. And much of that growth comes from my time spent living in a house that couldn’t be further from life in a dorm. I don’t know what the next year will hold, but I cannot wait to see what unfolds. And the fact that I have a fantastic new home to enjoy throughout the process makes it even better.