During the first few months of college I had a burning urge to reach high school popularity. That doesn’t exactly make sense– I know– because how can I be high school popular at a university, right? Well, the goal was simple: befriend people who I thought would have been high school popular, just to get a taste of what my life could have been. There was one step I had to take to social climb.
It was mirroring.
Essentially, if I imitated the behavior, mindset, and look of the girls I wanted to be, I would fit in nicely with the groups I’d never gotten along with. For those two months it worked, and I even acquired a pseudonym to reflect my new personality– Luna.
Being in a suburban high school teen-movie clique was exactly what I had expected it to be like: drinking, drugs, drama, and a boyfriend who drove a BMW. As delicious and cinematic as it’d seem at the table-read of a John Hughes script, to no one’s surprise I was woefully unhappy with the people I surrounded myself with. I was going to social events I wasn’t interested in with people I didn’t care about and quite frankly it sucked.
I’ve always been bad at following through on things I start, but this is the only time in which I actually believe it helped my well-being. Ultimately, I stopped mirroring them, and (to no one’s surprise) they stopped liking me. I quickly found myself having to find another group of friends and they ended up being much better and much more accepting of Eloise rather the lesser “Luna”.
I preface everything like this because I feel I’ve achieved a newfound college social status that I would like to coin as effortless popularity. I’ve begun to meet people with a candid what-you-see-is-what-you-get honesty, and it seems that the people who surround themselves around me have developed an appreciation for it.
I’ve been hanging around in my friend Cameron Daley’s room a lot lately (he’s Raza’s best friend, for those of you who know who that is) and I’ve gotten a lot closer with his roommates Dorian and Andres because of it. We live in the same hall, so transportation is easy, and although Cameron and Andres don’t get along very well, Andres has really taken a liking to me.
That brings us to Saturday. I was having a movie night with some friends in the lounge of Neegan Hall, when all of a sudden I got a text from Andres. He was inviting me to a party. Keep in mind, Andres is a sophomore, so I’m squealing internally to be getting an invitation from an upperclassman to go with his upperclassmen friends to an upperclassman party. I accept, and he pulls up to Neegan in a minivan, gesturing me to sit shotgun. It was snowy and the windows were fogged up, so when I entered the car I didn’t expect to see 5 people sitting behind me.
I was nervous at first. I suspected that he intentionally saved the front passenger seat for me, and so these people were probably aching to see who the freshman Andres dragged along was like. Quietly, I sank into the chair and thought about how I can mirror them so that they would start to like me.
Suddenly I hear a voice say my name.
“Luna! Do you go by Luna or Eloise? I’ve heard both.”
Dominique DuPont was sitting in the middle of the second row. She was everything I’d ever wanted to be– classy, elegant, naturally beautiful– and I’d seen her around campus looking regal as ever in her signature heels, jeans, and blouse topped with a chic updo. There she was, in the row behind me. Suddenly, she was so accessible. When I turn to face her, she smiles sweetly.
I tell her that I go by Luna (I’ve got to do it for consistency’s sake), realize that she knows my name, and think how simple it would have been to have just been myself from the start. I didn’t need to be high school popular, because high school popularity is overrated and stupid. College’s effortless popularity was so much cooler because I got to be myself, hang around people like Dominique DuPont who ooze grace and self-respect, and be treated with kindness and dignity.
The party was an intimate gathering between a few people, and where, in my old friend group, I would have been ignored and pushed aside, people were actively engaging me in activities. They wanted me there. I was wanted. There was no pressure to be someone else because they were all interested in the real me. Music was pumping loudly through the speakers, everyone was laughing, and it was the first time I genuinely felt at home at my school. Dominique grabbed my hand and led me to the center of the room. She twirled me. While we danced, I forgot about the drama, the peer pressure, the backstabbing, and the pandemonium of my first few months of college. Instead, all I kept thinking was, I’m so so happy.