Tolerance is one of my favorite words. We should be tolerant of everyone. We should be willing to accept differences that the people around us have. It was one of the major things I thought I could learn at college.
Independence isn’t one of my favorite words but it was another thing I had to learn. Just like like responsibility, maturity, and initiative.
Those last three words are some of my father’s most used words. He made sure to include them as I packed away my laptop for college. He mentioned them again on the car ride there. He told me not to waste my potential.
My mother was sad that I had to go. She told me to call every week as we got into my Dad’s van. My brother never has much to say. He told me that he was used to being alone so I shouldn’t worry about him. I never understood what he meant by that until this year.
When we arrived at the College of New Jersey, the feelings of apprehension and excitement were twisting their way through my body. I had never visited the college dorms. I didn’t even walk around the campus before orientation. I had picked the college without knowing much about it other than the name. The opportunity to tell people that I’m going to THE College of New Jersey was a major factor in my college decision. My father gave his approval saying it was a good school.
As our car drove on its way to my dorm, I realized how alluring the college campus was. I had read some e-mails about how there was construction going on. I didn’t care how the campus looked when I picked it, however once I had seen the campus with my own eyes, apprehension sailed away. The trees and the lakes put my body at ease.
It didn’t last long.
Once we parked the car and started unloading my stuff, I noticed several students walking around. I then remembered the faces of change. I was going to have to face them very soon.
After going through the process of obtaining my key and being introduced to the community advisers, I was sent on my way. I looked down a hall to faces I would never forget.
I never forget a face. I rarely forget names. Once I’ve seen a person once, they’re carved into my brain. Each person I meet is caught in my web forever, regardless of how I feel about them later on. Unlike a spider, my webs are indestructible. No matter how much someone tries to cut themselves out, I’ll never forget them or the memories that come with them. To me each of my friendships are eternal. Each time I see a person I know, my memories of them are fresh. It’s like they were never gone. It’s part of the reason sometimes I forget to say hi to people. I feel as though I’ve just seen them.
The faces I saw that day were varied. Some were average. Others were shaped weirdly. Some were better looking than others. Some I may never want to see again. Others I wish I had spent more time with because I’ll never see them again.
Two of these faces would become some of the best friends I would ever have.
I walked down the hallway giving out hellos and what’s ups like they were on sale. I entered my room and noticed my roommate had been there already. I had never seen a picture of my roommate. I just knew that his name was [NAME OF ROOMMATE REDACTED].
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a normal teenager. I don’t consider myself a weirdo. I just know that my opinion differs from a lot of people. There’s only so many personalities that I’m compatible with. My friends are made up by most of them, but they don’t live with me. The only people I had lived with my entire life were my parents. I had been to sleep overs, but never had I been over more than a few days.
Lucky for me, [NAME OF ROOMMATE REDACTED] turned out to one of the coolest guys I had ever met We got a long fine in the coming weeks. Though the first time we spoke I was very paranoid. I thought he was trying to steal my money. He offered to go buy me an Ethernet cable when I told him I had forgotten. I decided to go with him instead of handing over my money.
When we got back from there, I met the rest of the guys in my suite, an asian, a guytalian , an [NAME OF MYSTERIOUS SUITEMATE REDACTED], and something else.
Things were looking up. They were all pretty cool guys barring one. I thought about how I could get used to living with these guys.
Then the first weekend came. And with weekends came, alcohol. I thought about how I’d learn tolerance. I contemplated going to a college party with the rest of them.
I didn’t go. But I anticipated their return. I was in college to learn tolerance after all.
The only thing I learned however is that sometimes tolerance just isn’t possible.