The Unspoken Truth Of College

 

adbi2 By: Adair Bingham

Before I moved from home to live in in my own dormitory in September of 2017, my head was filled with false narratives and elaborate ideas about what college life is like. I was always led to believe that it was an endless hustle and bustle: wild parties left and right, new romantic partners at every turn and reckless decisions made just for the fun of it.

I’m in my second year of university, and I haven’t experienced any of these things. What I have undergone isn’t cruel or unusual. It’s simply the strange truths of college life which many students like to sweep under the rug.

After I graduated from high school, I was playing my faux “cool guy” persona, trying to fool myself into believing that I was prepared to live on my own.  If I had the power to turn back time and let myself know what college life is truly like, I think that I’d be both relieved and horribly confused.

One thing that definitely seems to be a disregarded problem is laundry. Everyone is well aware of the fact that college isn’t cheap, and if you’re living in the dorms, this fact hits even harder. College students want to save as much money as they possibly can, leaving some people to skimp out on weekly laundry hauls. Nobody ever told me to prepare for the fact that you may have to wear the same outfit for two or three weeks on end. Granted, nobody is going to say anything (hopefully), but you’ll definitely feel like you perpetually stink.

Another thing people conventionally forget in their college stories is what can only be described as the gladiator battle for seating in classes. One thing that I have discovered (and seems to be a universal experience amongst my peers) is that if someone happens to sit in your typical seat, your entire day is thrown off balance.

In the same vein, one key piece of advice that I would give to upcoming college students is to always scope out your classes prior to the first day. I cannot even begin to describe the primal sense of fear that surges through your body when you cannot find a class. It is one of the worst things to experience.

Another thing that many neglect to tell you is that literally nobody is going to pass judgement onto you for what you wear, what your interests are, or anything of that superficial nature. I came into college fearing disdain from my peers, but no one has batted an eye at me for any of my interests, tastes, or anything of the sort.

If I could go back in time to tell myself one thing, it would be to not be afraid of the people, the atmosphere, or living on my own. You’ll encounter bumps in the road and minor hiccups along the way, but you are prepared to be in college and you’ll be just fine, despite your doubts.

 

[Unconventional] Social Butterfly

      By: Adair Bingham

Ever since I was young, the idea of being a social butterfly frightened me. As a child, I was far from the type to be invited to parties and I was never first pick for sports teams. I was that socially awkward stereotype all throughout my primary academic years, and sometimes I still fall back on it. As I got older, I realized that I need to implement a change in life. It didn’t matter how small it was, what I needed was something new, something that I never would have dreamed of partaking in.

That change was social media. Many of my formative years were spent fearing social media, how it warped people’s sense of reality and how it was nothing but garbage content produced by outlandish, awful people. At least, that’s what I was told.

But as someone who wants to work in the creative industry, I knew that I needed to have an online presence.

At nineteen and after some heckling from friends, I hesitantly made my first-ever social media account: Instagram. I let it sit alone and unoccupied for one month before I even had an icon. A month after that, after riding out some strange wave of confidence, I posted my first drawing. I used the amount of likes as a means to measure my worth as an artist. Sometimes it would make me feel horribly self-conscious. At other times, I’d feel like the very definition of narcissist. It was like some kind of game, you could play to either make yourself feel special or just outright awful. I’m well aware the amount of likes and followers one has are all superficial, but it gives you some kind of elevated importance. After consistently posting my work, and during a particularly rough spot of self-depreciation, something that I never dreamed of happened.

I posted a piece of artwork inspired by one of my favorite games and it was noticed by the developers themselves. As small as it may seem, the fact that they saw it and acknowledged it greatly inspired me, and that was truly something special. It gave me the confidence that I so desperately needed to keep creating. So, I started posting on different platforms, and the day after doing so came floods of requests to buy artwork from me.

I am living out one of my longtime dreams: to be a freelance artist and to sell artwork. After harboring an irrational fear of social media for years, I am finally glad to call it a friend. Ideally, the takeaway from this is to unlearn your fear, to unlearn what you may have been told from others. Great things can come from it, and the only way to know is to take the first step into the unknown.Be bold, be brave, and be unashamedly weird in your creative endeavors. Most importantly, always create from what inspires you. Life is too short to not dabble in something new, even if it may be as small as social media.

 

Keep Portland Geeky

      adbi2  By: Adair Bingham

I recently attended Portland’s own annual anime convention, aptly named Kumoricon (or Cloudy Con). As a novice con-goer, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I felt like a bit of a clown as I passed my school peers dressed in a not-so-flattering green wig and anime apparel from a show that I don’t regularly watch. Public transportation felt like a one-way ticket to shame town, especially since my friends and I were the only ones in bizarre attire. That feeling, however, quickly vanishes as soon we arrived at the convention center.

I’m writing this on the final day of the convention, reflecting on just how welcoming, warm, and energetic these types of communities are. They’re also unexpectedly diverse. Often, the kinds of people who attend these conventions are severely misrepresented and made out to be obnoxious and horrid, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

As someone who has always had a strong interest in anything and everything nerdy, I felt as if this was where I truly belonged. Being surrounded by hundreds of other like-minded people is a rejuvenating experience, especially for an entire weekend. In fact, this was my first ever experience being surrounded by so many other people like me and it was amazing.

I’m well aware that there are lots of other people who have interests akin to mine, and I’m not as alone as I was in high school, but isolation is still a hard feeling to shake. Living in Portland has shown me that no matter who you are and what your interests may be, there is always a community that will be ecstatic to welcome you.