Bouncing back from an injury and navigating social situations in college.
Written by: Anonymous
Art By: Emma Killeen
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…”
You could say Humpty Dumpty and I have something in common. After freshman year full of tailgates, mixers, and new friendships I went home to Omaha, Nebraska already looking forward to going back to school to continue in the fun. Unfortunately, when I was home, I was injured in a freak accident that was about to change my college experience. Due to medical reasons, I could no longer drink alcohol.
“…All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again”
For some reason, this one restriction initially felt life changing. No alcohol?! How was I even supposed to participate in the social life of college? I was about to be living in a sorority house surrounded by the going out and drinking mentality. I was nervous that not being able to drink would isolate me from new friends and stop me from partaking in the social fun. I even considered dropping my sorority just to avoid being in an uncomfortable environment. Thankfully, I decided to stick it out and embrace my unknown awkward situation to see exactly where sophomore year would take me.
“Humpty Dumpty had a GREAT fall!”
As I am now entering the final semester of my Senior year, I look back and see this restriction in a new light. Not only was this restriction not the barrier I thought it would be, but it actually completely changed the way I perceive what going out and having a good time entails. Being sober in every social situation for a year brought unexpected benefits and shaped my college experience for the better.
Here are some of the lessons I learned along the way:
1 Redefining awkward: A situation is awkward only when you decide it will be. I originally thought sophomore year would feature me in the corner at parties because I couldn’t participate in drinking games and knew I wouldn’t have the extra liquid courage to talk to new faces. It proved to be an initial challenge, but after a while, I decided it was time to put myself out there and have some fun. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and instead began to enjoy whatever the night brings. I became more and more confident along the way when I began recognizing people liked me for my personality not my drinking persona.
2 Healthiest body and wallet: Eliminating alcohol = eliminating calories/hangovers/etc. Not inhaling sugary drinks surprisingly made my body feel really great! I wasn’t worried about gaining extra pounds and never felt like I needed to catch up on lost sleep. Restricting alcohol from my diet was beneficial also my wallet. The year before I spent so much money going out and buying drinks for my friends and me. Not drinking allowed me to save a lot of money and explore all the other fun things Ann Arbor has to offer.
3 Remembering the good times and solidifying friendships: The absolute best thing about going out sober was being with my best friends. For almost everyone, freshman year involves some flakey friendships as people scramble for friends at the beginning. Sophomore year allowed me to see who I actually enjoyed going out with sober or not. Those who have stuck with me through the years has allowed me to know who I will be friends with beyond college, and I am very grateful for finding my people beyond the artificial front of only drinking alcohol.
As I am about to graduate and enter the “real world” where much of my future is unknown, I always like to remind myself of sophomore year. When faced with life’s challenges it is easy to immediately think of the worst-case-scenario. Reminding myself of the Humpty Dumpty meme and my own story of perseverance I know that no matter how difficult the situation may seem to be, it is important to search and recognize there will always be a silver lining.