If you know me, you will know that my expectations are always very high. That is something that I have to learn to deal with. The first step is allowing myself to feel disappointed and then either do something about it or get over it. Since I have moved to New York City there have been a lot of things that have measured up to or even exceeded my expectations, but there are have also been things that I have been really disappointed about. This post is not about me complaining, but about how I have dealt with those disappointments.
When I was looking for an apartment, I read a lot of reviews for people who had stayed in those apartments. The room I am staying in now was no exception. There were some positive and negative reviews and there were photos of the place obviously. One of the first disappointments I had to face, was that my roommates where not as social as I had hoped. It took me two weeks to meet all of them and I share the apartment with only four people. The first few days I ate my breakfast and dinner at the table in the kitchen, but apparently everybody just eats in their rooms and keeps their doors closed at all times. Because it made me uncomfortable to eat in the kitchen, I am now eating in my room too and I always have a series or a movie playing while eating. It is no use trying to change the situation by eating in the kitchen anyway, because you are just going to feel uncomfortable and insecure. This is one of those situations you cannot do much about. You just have to accept it and make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Another thing that drove me crazy were the dirty pots and pans. If you have ever staying in student housing, you will know what I am talking about. The bottom of the pans was not visible anymore. After eating salads for a week, because I did not want to use the pots and pans, I decided to buy my own pan. This is one of the best things I did! It only cost me 15 dollars and I am now able to prepare a proper meal.
I am actually pretty satisfied with my room. It has a bed, a dresser, a closet and a desk, but it does not feel like home, because I did not pick out the furniture. This was a problem that was easy to fix: I made it feel more like home by filling it with all of my own things. One of the first things I did when I arrived was unpacking my suitcase. It is not a fun task and it takes some effort, but in the end it will cost less energy than not feeling at home.
The only thing I hated about my room was the pillow. It was so thin I had to put a blanket inside my pillowcase. For a week I did not sleep well and I became more frustrated every day until I decided to just buy my own pillow. Again this was one of the best investments I have made besides buying my own pan.
Because I was in the city five days before starting classes at New York Language Center and I did not have a lot of contact with my roommates, I was very lonely the first few days. Loneliness mixed with living on my own for the first time and being very stubborn, is not a good combination. My parents told me to contact some acquaintances who live in New York and to keep in touch with friends in The Netherlands. I should have done that the first day I was here, but I did not because I was scared and tired. After a few days I finally followed their advice and their responses gave me a lot of energy.
The first three weeks at school were great and actually exceeded my expectations, but a new session started last week and there is a different teacher now and I am not enjoying classes anymore at all. One session is eight weeks and that is way too long to sit it out. Besides I pay them to get a good education and now I am not getting one. I talked to someone at school to try to change to another class, but that one was full. It might seem like a situation that is difficult to change, but I am going to try everything to change classes. I have to stand up for myself and not think about other people too much, because I know I am not the only one who wants to go to the other class. The first thing I am going to do on Monday is ask again if it is possible to go to the other class.
So the two most important things I have learned are 1) it might take some energy to do something about a situation, but in the end you gain a lot more energy and 2) make yourself as comfortable as you can, even if that means spending money on something. I know now that I should not wait to change a situation if I can change it. I also know that it is okay to feel disappointed as long as that feeling does not stop you from changing the problem.