It’s been a good half a year since I’ve been in high school, and it’s odd, but I’m almost an entirely different person. It’s not like I’m too different personality-wise—nothing much has changed there. It’s my habits. And probably not in the way you think. There’s this general assumption that freshmen in college go crazy, but I seem to have done just the opposite.
This is a small thing, but I started cleaning my room. Almost obsessively. It began in the middle of the summer. I couldn’t bear the thought of all the junk from fifth grade stuffed under my bed, so I cleaned it out. A few days later, I was tired of my closet looking like a warzone, so I cleaned that too. You can walk in it now. You can see floor. It’s been months since I’ve cleaned it, and you can still see floor. In fact, I cleaned my room this morning. I’ve become so good at keeping it clean that cleaning it only takes a few minutes.
It seems like it’s something that anyone can and should do, but it still strikes me as weird. Up until a few months ago, I was content to let my laundry pile up on my floor until my entire wardrobe was no longer in the closet. I was perfectly fine leaving papers and things helter-skelter across the floor, and if you wanted to find something: good luck. There were shoes that I lost for weeks at a time simply because I couldn’t sift through the mess to find them.
But here I am out of high school, and it’s like some switch flipped in my brain. Like all of a sudden, I need to keep my room clean, and I don’t want to be in it if it isn’t.
And cleaning isn’t even the half of it. Suddenly I find myself bothered that ninety percent of the shirts I own are camp shirts and show shirts, which aren’t necessarily very flattering. This is mostly my fault. I absolutely detest shopping for clothes for a multitude of reasons. I have my taste, and it doesn’t really tend to change with the trends, so finding things I like is frustrating. Additionally, finding things that fit (and fit well, for that matter) is nigh impossible. And lastly, trying things on is too difficult. Let’s be real: I’m lazy. Shopping usually leaves me emotionally drained and wanting to sleep for five hundred years.
Yet I stand in my newly cleaned closet looking at my small collection of clothing that are not camp shirts, and I find myself wishing I had money to shop. I have to be careful not to wear the same thing twice in the same week, and I have to get creative with my layering. It seems that college has made me take a little more pride in my appearance, at least on the days when I wake up late enough to have the motivation to look cute. Early mornings I’m too tired to care, and I tend to make questionable decisions. Like wearing green and black argyle socks. At six thirty it sounds like a great idea, but by four in the afternoon I wonder if I got dressed in the dark.
I don’t know what to attribute all these changes to. It seems to me that as soon as I got out of high school, something inside me clicked, a circuit lit up, and suddenly I’m making better decisions. I don’t know if it’s just something about high school, or maybe it’s something about college. Either way, I’m okay with it. It’s been a pretty wild ride, in its own right, and I’m excited to see what happens next.