Dear Diary

August 29, 2012

On the move.


Last week I got my exam results, and I’ll start going to my new school next week. I feel actual excitement at the prospect of this new blank slate, a brand-new timetable, fresh faces, smooth classroom tables, blank notebooks.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to an accompanying spike of nausea and nerves—but this time I’m able to override them. I feel as though I was pulled toward this new term at this new school—I took to the idea of it so easily, after years of stiff awkwardness at my old school. I could have so easily not gone to that open house back in February, but I followed through on that slight tug that I felt.

I’ve wanted my life to always feel this natural, this smooth. But lately I’ve been re-reading Sylvia Plath’s diaries and discovering E.M. Forster through A Room With a View, and one thing that I have learnt from both of them is this: it’s OK to embrace the awkwardness of life too, not just the smooth. The rough and clunky doesn’t need to be avoided. As Forster writes, “Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.” Not much is more relevant to me than that.

Forster writes such excruciatingly real people—not just characters with “faults” (like a pretty girl who can’t find a man because she is just soooo clumsy!!!) that lesser writers come up with when they’re trying to make someone “three-dimensional.” Forster’s characters have contradictions and confusing traits that make them difficult to pin down. Just like people are. (Though I’ve often wished that people could stay in one box so I wouldn’t have to question how I genuinely feel for them.)

In Plath’s diaries she talks about the strangeness of coming home late when you’ve been out on your own: “I snip off the thread of aloneness and enter into the ritual and rooms that are the family, are the home.” I have had that feeling. But for some reason I didn’t think I should feel it—I thought that I should be able to swiftly move from place to place without any trouble, with no inner adjustments to be made and no threads tying me to anything. I’ve ignored that feeling, while Plath wrote beautifully about it.

I am glad I am not the only one constantly questioning feelings that don’t sit neatly within me. These two writers make me feel like it is actually all right to write about those feelings instead of ignoring them. Like I might not have to smooth over the cracks in my bewildering life. ♦


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  • pinmq August 29th, 2012 7:19 PM

    Katherine, I feel the exact same way. The second week of college for me is almost over and I haven’t made ANY friends. There are a few people from my high school going to my college, some I am friends with, which is great, I am not complaining, BUT I NEED COLLEGE FRIENDS. I want to go to a couple of club meetings and see what it’s like. I feel like that is the only way I will ever meet new people. The problem is my high school friends do not want to go to those meetings with me, and going by myself ANYWHERE makes me feel like a loser. But oh well, I will survive, you will survive, we will all survive, and hopefully we will make new friends fast! :)

    • Katherine August 29th, 2012 9:28 PM

      go to the meetings! going places alone is cool. just wear all black and pretend you live a crazy double life or something.

    • palindromes August 30th, 2012 2:11 PM

      I was the same way when I started college last year, but I promise you: a.) you will make friends and b.) you will feel more comfortable being alone. (I seriously think being alone is the best thing I’ve learned in college thus far.) If you feel uncomfortable going to a meeting alone, bring a book — it’ll distract you AND you won’t have to make awkward eye contact with people before the start of the meeting. Also, unless everyone else at your school is a conjoined twin*, you won’t be the only person who came to the meeting alone :)

      *If they are, could you please let me know? That sounds ridiculously cool.

  • callie August 29th, 2012 7:27 PM

    em forster is the best and i totally get what you say about him creating absolutely real characters and GETTING LIFE. i feel like room with a view is my favourite because his other books are sort of filled with aching existential pain…. they’re amazing but sad-making. i feel like people see him as this vaguely mediocre comedy of manners kind of writer when actually a lot of his stuff is quite tragic and super philosophical when you get down to it.
    do you think you’ll do english at university?

  • clairee August 29th, 2012 7:27 PM

    To everyone worrying about making friends in college, I think that’s a universal concern. I know there are times that I have felt so lonely and friendless in college because unlike high school, you’re not mandated to be in the same place at the same time every day, and everyone is running on all different schedules. Still, I’d like to remind everyone to just be patient :) The best friendships happen spontaneously, so just keep meeting new people, keep your mind open, and wait. When I get worried, I think back to high school and remember that it took me about two and a half years to find my core group of friends, whom I love to death. Just focus on activities you like, be open, and friends will happen eventually.

  • Dylan August 29th, 2012 7:30 PM


  • ghostlightshow August 29th, 2012 8:42 PM

    Katherine, I felt the same way when I started college! I barely left my room, had trouble making friends, and avoiding social events. I was considering transferring and even buying a plane ticket home. But slowly, things got better. I’m still only close to a few people, but eventually I found ways to eat regularly and people to hang out with sometimes. I even joined a sorority, something I never imagined that I would do (this is really dependent on the environment at your school, though). Basically, things get better.

  • Abby August 29th, 2012 8:43 PM

    Katherine, you are me. I swear you just put all my thoughts about college friend-making on paper. Seriously. This is exactly how I feel.

  • bluemeanie96 August 29th, 2012 9:36 PM

    oh my goodness naomi is a troper she’s one of us so much time has been spent on that site

  • kirsten August 29th, 2012 9:57 PM

    IT’S WEIRD. But appreciated!!

  • aliceee August 29th, 2012 9:58 PM

    Naomi, your entry totally resounded with me. Sometimes when things are sort of…odd–not bad, or upsetting, or embarassing, but just have this weird tint of something–I feel uncomfortable about it, but occasionally I’ll realize, well, it wouldn’t be so much like life without that

    And Ruby: I moved back to a big city a few months ago, after a year in a tiny town, & every remotely non-cookie-cutter person I saw made me so excited

  • Leanna August 29th, 2012 10:11 PM

    Caitlin! That cat! I love it.

  • Equatorgrim August 29th, 2012 10:39 PM

    I guess I can relate. I just moved to a new High School for my senior year. It’s bigger than my last one (where we all knew each other and it was easier for me to walk everywhere) I don’t know anyone here, and my lunches and classes have been awkward. Most of my classes have been with people younger than me, and I feel so isolated, but a quick schedule change after school today and maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Things are tough now, but it will get better and easier. I hope things go well for you as well for those who are going through the same thing here in the comments.

    • vanguardinspace August 31st, 2012 12:11 AM

      I am in exactly the same situation as you. I too went to a smaller school before, and feel weird, like I am a tiny fish in a huge pond, and somewhat insignificant even though I know that I’m not. I want to force people to notice me, to shout out “Hey guys! Be friends with me! I’m interesting and fun and nice!” but that probably would make the friend situation worse.

      I thought that being new would be exciting to people, like it is in elementary school, or a small school, but it’s kind of the opposite situation where people are thinking — I already have my friends, and IIII, the new person, have to make all of the effort. That being said, school has just started, so things will get better, I know it…and if it doesn’t, I have friends from other schools and my media security blankets and rookie so i’ll survive :)

      Hope everything goes well for you too!

  • hixbabez August 29th, 2012 11:33 PM

    I know exactly how you feel. When I started college, I was shy and didn’t know anybody. Unfortunately, my feelings of loneliness turned to feelings of resentment. I was a member of a scholarship program and that definitely helped me make friends, but I wish I would’ve had a more open mind about reaching out to people in my dorm and classes. I feel like I never truly experienced “college life” which isn’t such a big deal, but something to shoot for, especially in the beginning.

    I recommend getting closer to your roommates and meeting people on your floor and in your classes. And don’t feel bad about eating alone. I always thought they were the coolest people, because they were brave enough to do it! Just take a book! And have fun in college.

  • lucylu August 30th, 2012 12:05 AM

    i feel the same way! i just started highschool moving from China to the US and I feel like I have to force people to talk to me!

    • nickz August 30th, 2012 1:11 PM

      God I really know what it s like moving to a different country and trying to make friends.I went through that as well,though you should try after school activities they are great for meeting new people.

  • 3LL3NH August 30th, 2012 12:36 AM

    Ruby, your school sounds amazing. I hope it’s amazing. I hope you love it!

  • julalondon August 30th, 2012 5:36 AM

    Haha Katherine the thing with the hair…when i moved in with my two girlfriends and we cleaned the room after one week we had tons of hair on the floor as well…..=D Now i know we are not gross…

  • roxo August 30th, 2012 12:13 PM

    Katherine, I went to an Ivy League college (I say this not to be a snob but to point out that in theory everyone should’ve REALLY wanted to be there considering it was so hard to get in). Although I loved it immediately, I would say that at least 50% of my freshman hallway – including my roommate – spent the first month or two filling out applications to transfer. But in the end? Every one of them stayed.

    My one major regret about my college experience is that I spent way too much time being hipper-than-thou, and while I wouldn’t trade the CMJ gigs and Wednesday-night indie clubs for anything, I wish I’d thrown myself into more on-campus stuff. You’re so right to sign up for a few things. It sounds cheesy, but you have your whole life to say no – for these four years give yourself the permission to say yes. :-)

  • koolkat August 30th, 2012 7:12 PM

    Ruby! The exact same thing happened to me on my first day of HS!!! There’s this awesome girl in my grade with bright pink hair whose a punk. It was funny-she got very exciting when she realised I was British.

  • lianaisferal August 30th, 2012 10:08 PM

    Ruby I always love your posts so much <3