Storytime: How College Gave Me Social Anxiety | Cheyenne Lin


Anyway, at the end of the semester I
would later learn from my RA that my quadmates were suspended and at risk of
being expelled from the school… So yeah. Hey guys welcome back to my channel and
today we’re going to do a storytime about my college experience and how
college gave me social anxiety. So before I start the video I do want to put a
content warning in that I am going to be talking about some triggering things for
example, eating disorders, social anxiety, and paranoia. So if any of those things
trigger you feel free to click out of the video. So, it’s the end of the decade and I wanted to do this storytime because college really did
change my life in the decade of the 2010s. And it’s also very cathartic for
me to talk about. In addition, it’s also kind of funny now that I’m so removed
from it. And just for reference, this is what I look like in 2013, and I was just
a mess. So I know that the title is really overdramatic and in reality
college was a really great time for me. I met some great people, I learned a lot,
and I wouldn’t trade my 30k in student loan debt
to erase those memories and those years of my life. However, I do know that a lot
of people will watch this video and think that I’m over exaggerating or
making something out of nothing, and I do totally understand tha, as it is really
hard to convey how alone and how desperate I felt back then, and words do
not do my experience justice, but I’m sharing this story time because it’s
cathartic for me like I said, but also because I want to help people who might
be in a triggering situation right now. And for those of you in triggering
situations at this moment, just try to get out of them because it’s not worth
it to stay in a situation just because you
think it’s your only option or because you’re trying to fit in or be cool, or
whatever. Just get out. And before I start, I’m not here to drag anyone, I’m not even
gonna make up names or even mention specific people that much because it’s
not really about them, it’s really just about me and my experiences. And I’m not
here to blame anyone for why I have social anxiety, but I will blame the
college housing system, but more on that later. With that said and out of the way,
these stories are going to be about my roommates and my experience in the
college dorms. It’s not really about grades or how grades triggered my
anxiety or anything because honestly, I had all of that under control, it was
just the social aspect of college that really fucked me up, for lack of better
terms. So I’m going to be separating this video into parts. Part 1 will be
freshman year and then the last part will be senior year. So part one, freshman
year. So the first half of freshman year I was put into a quad, which was a big
room with four beds and no walls or barriers. So basically you could see and
hear everything else the other three people were doing. I initially took a
back bed in the corner of the room, but then later had to switch with this other
girl because I’m a doormat. And the new bed that I was living in was one by the
window. And the windows didn’t really help at all because they were a single
pane, so when it got cold out it would be very cold, and then the heat would go up
and then it would be too hot, so we had to open the window and we had to
continue doing this intermediately throughout the night, and it was just
very inconvenient. So at this time I had three roommates. One of them was an ROTC
girl who was an insufferable know-it-all like that boy from the Polar Express. And
she was either unaware or didn’t care that the two other girls in the room
were bullying her. And I personally didn’t want to have anything to do with
her, so she was just kind of on her own. And then the only other one I remember
was like this ringleader, and she was this girl that looked like an evil doll.
And she would kind of control the others and kind of basically have her way in
the quad. She would have people over till 3 a.m., even on school nights, even when I
was trying to sleep. And at this time I had a very weird
schedule because I had an eating disorder and my eating disorder would
require me to wake up at 5 a.m. every morning and go to the gym to work off
the food I ate, even though I wasn’t eating. And therefore, I had to go to sleep around
9:00 p.m. to get enough sleep to conserve my energy for the next day. And
of course they didn’t know about this, but still having people in your room
till 3:00 a.m. and not asking any of your quad mates is still extremely rude.
And it was just a terrible situation for me and of course you know I complained
to my RA, but I couldn’t really do anything because she told me that we
weren’t allowed to change rooms until the end of the semester, so that sucked,
but thankfully during the middle of the first semester of freshman year I met my
boyfriend, who’s now my husband, and I moved into his single room. So I was able
to just pack up all my essentials and moved to the other room, and at the end
of the semester when I had to pack up all my things and bring them home I
found out that a guy, unofficially, was staying in my spot in the quad, and that
they stole my fucking Sharpie markers that my mom bought me!! And of course I
didn’t realize this until later because I only packed my essentials, and yes I’m
still fucking mad at that because like who the fuck does that?! Thankfully I
don’t think that they stole anything else. They did burn a hole in my mattress
cover which was annoying, but whatever. Anyway at the end of the semester I
would later learn from my RA that my quad mates were suspended and at risk of
being expelled from the school… so yeah. So part two, the second half of freshman
year. So the second half of freshman year was a lot better because I had a
new roommate and I only had one roommate this time, thank God, and I actually moved
into the floor above my old floor, and my new roommate was really nice. We
didn’t really talk to each other and would occasionally lock each other out
of the room because we had to take showers in the communal baths, and it was
just this whole thing, so we would occasionally
lock each other out of the room, but you know nothing serious ever happened. And
since I had a boyfriend I was mainly just spending time with him, so you know
I wasn’t really in the room much, and she was pledging for a sorority, so she
wasn’t in the room much, and it was just like a really cool dynamic. However,
unfortunately, during this time my eating disorder got a lot worse.
I was basically starving myself and I got a horrible rash on my neck and I
also had coughing fits because I wasn’t eating enough. And at the end of the
semester I did start binging again which was bad because I then gained a lot of
weight, but then at the same time it was good because at least I was eating, so
there’s that. And college just kind of made my eating disorder worse. I already
had an eating disorder since high school, but then coming into college I was
controlling my food intake so I would basically eat nothing, and there was a
gym there so I would basically spend most of my time at the gym working off
the food I ate, and it was just this terrible cycle. And now I’m just gonna
vent about something that happened in the middle of all of this, and this is
actually not even about my eating disorder or social anxiety. This is about
why I hate group projects. Alright, so in my approaches to Lit class in my second
semester of freshman year we had to do a group project on Marxist theory. And I
was put in a group with these two other girls and for the project we each had
our own tasks. One of us had to outline the chapter and two of us had to find
movies to analyze through a Marxist lens. And I already outlined the chapter
beforehand because I’m very into studying, so I already
outlined the chapter, so I thought my part of the project was done. I gave my
group the outline and said, okay you know you guys can use this to make the
presentation or whatever, but this is what I want to present. But no. Apparently
this wasn’t gonna happen and they said I still had to find a movie to analyze! And
I was like okay fine. So I didn’t know what movie to analyze and then there’s
one girl in the group said well why don’t you talk about The Social
Network because it’s on the syllabus. And I was like alright fine, great. Went home,
watched the movie, had no idea how to analyze this film with a Marxist lens
when I was only like 19 years old, so I was just like bullshitting everything.
I came in the next day and I was nervous, but things just got worse after
that. When we had to go up to give the presentation this bitch, this bitch, took
my notes that I gave our group to make the presentation, and literally read my
fucking outline to the class and then proceeded to get praised for it by the
professor! And I was like??? but of course I didn’t say anything.
I just gave my presentation about the stupid social network and it was all
wrong, so then the professor just started berating me for using a movie that was
already on the syllabus and for not critiquing the film the
right way or whatever, and it was just like…I have no words for that experience.
Anyway, so at the end of this I never told the professor this, I was just I
was very, you know, I didn’t stick up for myself a lot back then, and nowadays I
would definitely go to the prof and be like this happened, but back then I was
just so submissive and I just didn’t want to cause any problems, so I just
stayed silent. Anyway this is just why I hate group projects. And I will also say
that the people in my English major, because I majored in English, were just
all kind of really petty white girls, who just would suck up to the prof as much
as they could to get a good grade, and not really give a shit about what we
were actually reading and studying. It was just- I could do a whole
other video about that, so back to the main story- HOUSING. At the end of
freshman year I had to apply for housing again, but instead of
applying to like regular housing with a friend or whatever I decided to apply to
I-HOUSE, also known as the International House, where all the
international exchange students lived with some American ambassadors, and I
really wanted to do this because you know my husband’s Brazilian,
I was really tight with the Brazilian students on campus, and I thought meeting
students from other countries would be fun, and boy was I really fuckin wrong
about this. So part three – the first half of sophomore year. So I was accepted into
I-HOUSE and I moved in. And I-House is situated in this one road of townhouses,
and there are townhouses on either side. So I -HOUSE takes up two of these
townhouses, and you know I lived in one of them. Each of the houses has ten
students five Americans and five exchange students, so that’s where I
lived, and you know this was the year I realized that I am NOT like other
college students. I-house people loved partying, I hate partying. I-house people
love staying up late, I hate staying up late. I-house people
liked hanging out with each other for extended periods of time,
I hate hanging out with people for extended periods of time. So this is
where I learned that this was not the right place for me. I realized
that I had very little in common with these other students, exchange students
or not, American students or not, I just did not jive with these people. They
would have parties till 3:00 a.m., not consult anyone in the house, and just
have like 50 people over. And sometimes I got so angry I contemplated either
calling the campus police, or sleeping in another house’s common area. That’s how
bad it got, that I would literally contemplate sleeping in the laundry room,
rather than sleeping in my own house. And it didn’t help that I started this whole
I-house thing on the wrong foot, as my boyfriend was living in my room at the
time because it was his last semester at the college, and you know I didn’t
consult anyone on my floor about this, he just kind of moved in. And even though we
had single rooms we shared a common space, which had a fridge, a microwave,
and a bathroom, so we all shared that. And you know, they didn’t say anything about
him, I didn’t say anything about him, he was just living there. And they also
didn’t consult me about their parties, so in this way we just had these
resentments toward one another, these unspoken and uncommunicated
resentments. And I felt that I couldn’t voice my grievances about the noise
because I had my boyfriend living with us, who you know, unconsenually was living
with us, so that’s why I felt like I couldn’t say anything about the noise.
And you know, I honestly should have said something, but I just didn’t you know, I
was totally outnumbered, anyway, so I just gave up trying to, you know, even talk to
these people. And it didn’t help that our
personalities were totally different. They were extremely extroverted, you know
loud kind of people, and I am extremely introverted.
I hate interacting with people and part of this is because of I- house,
but anyway they were all just very uppity, you know. They always tried
to one-up each other, and show everyone how cultured they were, how worldly they
were, and you know, it just felt like this constant competition, and I just was not
having it. So the second half of sophomore year my boyfriend moved out. He was no longer living with us, and the
international students changed, and I did apologize to my other housemates for
having my boyfriend live with us, and you know for kind of just being rude to them.
Like you know, not saying hi to them in the hall, or just kind of brushing them
off, and like ignoring them, but honestly I felt like I was in the right, and I
wish I didn’t apologize, honestly, because they never apologized for throwing loud
parties, you know, on a Tuesday night when I was up studying for a test! So I really
regret it saying I was sorry because you know I really wasn’t sorry. I
just felt like I had to do that in order to get back in their good graces because
I had to live with these people for a whole other semester. Well after that I
just tried my best to avoid them. I tried to stay out of the house as much as
possible and I still had an eating disorder, and I was still really
deep in it so I was still exercising at 5:00 a.m. and going to bed at 9:00 p.m.
This is all going on, while this horrible roommate situation was going on, and
essentially my social anxiety with them got so bad that I would center my
schedule around them. If I had to go to the bathroom or do laundry I wouldn’t do
that if I knew that they were in the lounge or if they
were you know talking on the floor. I would just stay locked in my room
because I was just so terrified of running into these people or having to
see them. And you know it just made me have these very paranoid and obsessive
thoughts that they were constantly talking about me or that they were you
know spreading rumors about me or whatever, and it was just a very
unhealthy time mentally for me. And of course now I know that these are all
irrational fears that I had, but these irrational fears would eat at me every
single day. However, I do want to say that the second semester in I- house was a
lot better than the first because I did make some friends that I could confide
in about other house members, so that was really nice. But I only ever got close
with like maybe one or two of them because honestly you have to be a very
outgoing person to give these exchange students the American college experience
that they’re looking for, and I clearly was not cut out for that. I’m not a
social person and I only have a few friends that I can really trust and
confide in, and I like it that way. I like being alone. I like spending time alone. I
like being by myself and I didn’t really know this about myself until
after this horrible experience I had in I-house. And it’s sad that I had to go
through that experience to really learn this about myself, but I’m glad
that I eventually did come to this conclusion, that I’m very introverted and
I’m okay with that. So part four, junior year! So I applied to i-house again and I know this was a mistake. I knew that I shouldn’t have done it, but
upperclassmen at my college didn’t have guaranteed housing, so I didn’t know if I
was gonna even be able to live on campus in junior year, so because of that fear
and because the college system is so fucked up, I put myself in a position
that I was uncomfortable in, yet again. So the first semester of junior year was my
last semester in I-house, so I guess that’s the silver lining to all this. So
the domestic students, as well as the international students, were all
different. So I basically could turn over a new
slate you know, I was the only remnant of the old I-house, so you know that made
me feel better. Also my ED was more in control at this
point. I wasn’t going to the gym at 5 a.m. every morning, so I could stay up
later and like socialize more. I wasn’t so locked in my room, I guess as
much as I was in the previous years, but I still wasn’t ok with what was
happening in the house. I wasn’t okay with the parties. I wasn’t okay with them
running and screaming around the house you know at 3 a.m. when I was trying to
sleep. So overall I still felt very constrained and very awkward living
there because I still wasn’t really close with anyone. I did
thankfully start sleeping with earplugs and I still sleep with earplugs today, so
there’s that. And though I was more involved in
I-house, I still was seen as weird because I wanted to instill rules in the house,
and because I wasn’t assertive about those rules, they took this opportunity
to mock me. For example, I made a cleaning schedule for my floor and I put it up in
the common area for everyone to see, you know and I talked to them about it and
they said it was cool, but then there was this one fucking asshole,
who would literally untape the schedule from the wall, and put it like really
high, close to the ceiling where I couldn’t reach it.
And it would be this constant thing. He would move it, I would take it and put it
back in its place, and this went on for like weeks until I finally just threw
the fucking thing away. Boundaries weren’t respected. Everything
was just a big joke to these people, and you know it was a joke to me. And after
this whole incident I tried my best, again, to stay out of the house as much
as possible. I would leave early in the morning, go to class stay in the library
and only come back when I had to because I just wanted to avoid these
people. I just hated them so much at this point and it wasn’t even just the
cleaning schedule, it was the partying, it was them staying up till 3:00 and
gossiping right outside my door, like literally leaning their backs against my
door, you know hitting it at 3:00 a.m. when I was trying to sleep. And
no one really respected me because I was seen as “the odd one out” because I
wanted some cleaning to be done, because I
wanted a nice living space, because I just wanted them to turn the
music down. You know of course I was seeing as the killjoy.
The last thing I remember out of all of this, was that at the very end of the
semester some of my housemates went and ate my food without asking me. Like who
the fuck does that? How how much of an asshole do you need to be to just
like eat someone’s food without asking them? And you know I thought an eating
disorder at this point, and though I wasn’t going to the gym, I still was
keeping my food intake to the bare minimum, like this is all the food I had,
and they fucking ate it all. And of course you know they apologized and
whatever and said that they would buy me a replacement, but it was like, it’s the end of
the fucking semester bitch! Like who the fuck cares at this point? I
was just so upset and they didn’t know I was leaving the house. I didn’t tell them. They didn’t know I had an eating disorder, I didn’t tell
them that either. And you know what? I don’t give a fuck about them. I
hope that I never have to interact with these people ever again, and honestly
talking about it now makes me feel better, even though like thinking about
that moment I was basically on the verge of tears. Hey guys I’m just
popping on while I’m editing, like always, and I just wanted to say that in the next
few clips, I’ll be saying that “I’m over” what happened to me in college, when
in reality I actually feel like this meme. And you know, when I made the video I wanted to be like “I’m over it”, I
don’t care about what happened, but obviously I care, I’m making a whole
video about it. And I realize since making the video that it’s okay to not
be over something, especially if that thing was traumatic for you. I
think we like to push this narrative that you know, once something is over
you’re a better person or you learn something, but in reality, like these
experiences haunt you for your entire life. You will never truly get over it,
you’ll only be able to live with it, and maybe learn to laugh at it. So that’s
what I wanted to say. I know in the video I’m gonna start saying that I’m over it,
that I don’t care about these people, bla bla bla, and it is true that I don’t
really care about those individuals, but am I over the experience? Um probably not.
So just know that if you’re not over a traumatic experience don’t beat
yourself up about it. Don’t feel like you have to be like “I’m stronger now” or “it
didn’t affect me” or something like that because it’s okay to admit that
you still hurt like four years after the fact because our lives aren’t movies. We
don’t get that happy ending or we don’t get that closure because we’re real
people that, unfortunately, still have to go on living after the movie ends.
Alright well that’s it now back to the video. But now you know I can laugh about
it. I’m just so over it, and it’s good to just get that out into the world and be
done with it. So the second half of junior year was a
lot better. I was able to switch rooms with someone who was graduating. I had
really great floor mates. They wanted a cleaning schedule, they were all
very studious, and very very friendly. So that was all great. The bad thing was was
that this house was right across from I-house, so whenever I had to leave my
house I would potentially run into them. So instead of doing that, I would plan my
schedule around theirs. I would leave my house at absurd hours of the day, like at
5:00 a.m. just to make sure that I wouldn’t run into them later on. It was
just ridiculous. Like I remember sitting in the laundry room at 5:00 a.m. waiting
for my laundry to be done rather than going back to my house or doing my
laundry at a normal hour because I was afraid that I would run into them during
the day, and I would just try to stay in my room as much as possible to not see
them, and it was just terrible. And even though my ED was a lot better at this
time, my social anxiety around them and that house was just as worse as ever
because I still wasn’t really over it. And I was still going through the trauma
that I went through… So we made it the senior year, yay!
Senior year was probably my best year in college. I was living with my best friend.
We got housing as seniors, which was awesome. We lived in a townhouse. It was
across from I-house, but because all of the international students had left and
that there were new domestic students living in the house, you know I didn’t
really know anyone there, so it was okay. I was kind of over like
that phase of my life of inconveniencing myself to not see people I didn’t like.
I was done with that. I was a lot better. I was living with my friend
like I said, and actually my boyfriend, who’s now my husband, came to live with
us in the last semester of senior year, and everything worked out fine. And yeah,
overall senior year was great, and though it was great, it still wasn’t perfect, as
I still had an eating disorder, and it was really strong at this time. Actually
I ended up passing out and fainting in a workout class and had to be taken to the
ER to be given fluids, so you know that was a low of senior year, but that
happened in the beginning of the year, and everything after that was just
uphill from there. The sad part is that if I never applied to I-house in my
sophomore year, and just stayed with a friend or you know just for the
regular roommate, I probably wouldn’t have the social anxiety that I do now.
Even now, like leaving my apartment is a big deal for me. You know I’m
constantly afraid that people are talking about me. I have these
paranoid thoughts that people are always talking about me and always laughing at
me and it’s very disconcerting. It’s very hard to ignore, but I am living
with it, and I am getting better, but it just sucks that like I put myself
through like that torture just because the college housing system was unfair,
and just because I thought that it was going to be a good experience for
me, and just turned out to be the complete opposite of that, and
the false advertising around this place was also really detrimental to you know
my mental health. Hey guys I’m just popping on while I’m editing. One thing
that I didn’t mention in the video was how I-house was advertised to other
students, to the domestic students to become American ambassadors. Well they
advertised it as like this great multicultural utopia. Students
sharing ideas and whatever, and it’s not that. It’s just a place where people
go to get drunk, high, and fuck around, and you know what I’m fine with that,
but they should have fucking advertised it as like this kind of place because
then I would have never fucking signed up! Alright so that’s it. Thanks for
listening to this very long story time. I hope you enjoyed it, and you know I am
totally over this. This was just something that happened to me in the
middle of the decade, but it really shaped my life. Living with
social anxiety and paranoia, it’s not easy, but we’re doing it. So yeah, let me know if you can relate to this down in the comments. Let me know
about your horrible roommate experiences so that we can all suffer together. These are just some experiences that you’ll never forget, that like just kind
of haunt you throughout your life, so that’s always good. And I know it’s
horrible to like narrate your life and things like that, but you know
sometimes adding narrative elements to your life helps you kind of move on
and keeps you motivated to go on living. And here’s the healing in 2020! So thanks
for watching I’ll see you the next one, bye 🙂

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