There's a lot on my mind as we approach the new year. For me, this isn't "New Year" so much as it is mid-year. I'm halfway through my first semester of graduate school. For most of my life now, I've been accustomed to the start of summer feeling more like the new year than New Year's does.
But this year feels more like New Year's than it usually does.
Earlier this year, I was in a pretty crappy living situation with some people who turned out to be bad roommates. Things were fine at first, but as the weeks wore on and the "shiny" of being in a new place wore off, they basically started to care less and less. The risk of rooming with two other people is, of course, that they will gang up on you, which is pretty much what happened there.
The house itself didn't really help us get along. It was bigger and built so that we could go for days without even having to see each other. There was a lot more to it than that, but basically, they did everything they could to shut me out and drive me out -- but got all pissy when I wanted to move out because they still wanted me there paying my part of rent; they just didn't want to live with me.
Anyway, I'm not someone who's easily intimidated or hurt or cowed. I knew I needed to move before my semester was over or it would wreck my school and job performance. So I reached out to family, friends (yes, former roommates, I DO have those), and people at college and got myself out of there and into a better house with better people.
But all my things weren't out of the old house until Thanksgiving. And financially this was also a giant pain because I did double bills one month, and then had one of the former roommates try to rip me and my mother off to the tune of $100. (We did get the money eventually).
I didn't have TIME for that shit. I didn't have time to try to be a graduate student, read the entire Shakespeare canon in a semester, work a job, play cello for money, write, have friends, run this blog, be ME while I was dealing with these people. This was incredibly stressful and also time-consuming. It was so stressful that I actually reestablished speaking terms and a functional, if distant, friendship with my ex.
I knew my roommates would go out and misrepresent the situation, misrepresent me, to all my friends, to people in the graduate program, and that's exactly what they tried to do. They are more outgoing and chatty than I am, and they have no problem airing all their dirty laundry. Last I heard, they were whining to our mutual friends about me and telling everyone they were going to hire the family lawyer to force me to stay in the house.
I am a private kind of person. I was worried that this incident would affect my reputation in the graduate program, that they would deliberately paint me as the villain to people whose good opinions I value. That didn't happen, but my schoolwork did suffer. My job performance suffered as well, though not as much. Mostly, my health suffered. They created an unsafe environment where my nerves were wracked and I was sleep-deprived most of the time.
I got off to a terrible start to a first semester of graduate school. I think I did pretty well for myself, but I know that I could have done better. When I'm functioning at my best, I'm better than this. But because of those people, I couldn't function at my best, and my performance suffered. I will always resent that.
So that's why this feels more like a New Year. I'm out of undergrad, and out of that house. Last semester felt almost more like a trial run than anything. I'm ready to start graduate school in earnest, at my best, not holding back. For real this time. It feels more like New Year because it's a new start.
Now let's see: my hair still isn't long enough to cut and donate as per my resolution from a while ago. I'm going to resolve to be better at managing finances this year. And some other things, but mainly I'm going to approach this upcoming semester with my head in the game. Finally.
If nothing else, it couldn't be worse than fall semester of junior year. *knock on wood* It helps to have a litmus test of "How bad is it?" This roommate fiasco makes the list, definitely. But it's still not as bad as some other stuff. It's helpful to know I've come through worse.