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BWW Blog: It's Okay to Cry When You Get to College (And Listen to Broadway While Doing It!)

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Your first few months at college are hard- and harder than most people will let on to.

It is way past time we normalize crying- especially during times when we are expected to be happy. Throughout my freshmen fall at college, my social media was constantly being updated with Instagram pictures and Snapchat stories of me and my new college friends (many of whom I hadn't said more than three words to before posting them on my account). Like many other college first years, I was trying to prove to everyone at home and beyond that I was living the ultimate college dream and was happy as can be in my new home. However, I was constantly crying in the shower and to my mom in hidden parts of my dorm building, and would count the minutes until I could leave the party we were at and I could have some time alone where I wasn't trying to impress everyone around me. Your first few months at college are hard- and harder than most people will let on to. Before starting school, everyone would tell me, "Oh, you are going to have the time of your life, the next four years are the best!". And yes, eventually, as I became more comfortable at school, I can gratefully say that the past 2 years have been the best. But, what these older relatives and family friends left out when praising the college experience is that adjusting to a new life, school, and friends is really, really hard and scary. And with COVID-19 making the college experience something completely unprecedented, it will undoubtedly be even more hard and scary. So, for all of the college first years about to embark on their college experience, let me tell you this: It is okay to cry! And whether you are stuck at home or will be on campus this semester, here is a list of show tunes that will make your crying feel all the more better.

She Used to Be Mine - Waitress
Okay, did you really expect me to make a Broadway crying playlist and not put this as number one? You'll be looking back on your past and pre-college self a lot this next year, and especially these few months. For when you are nostalgic of your highschool self or just when you are reflecting on the ways college is beginning to change you, the combination of Sara Barielles and Jessie Mueller will help you get that cry out by the first lyric.

I Dreamed A Dream - Les Misérables
Okay, this will obviously help you get your tears out, but don't take the lyrics too literally. It can so often feel that your dream of "the perfect college experience" is impossible those first few weeks at school. But remember, just as "I Dreamed a Dream" is performed at the beginning of Les Mis, these emotions you are feeling are similarly just the beginning of a long, exciting adventure. It won't always be positive, so accept your sadness, cry it out, and then continue on to the next moment with a clear, optimistic mind.

Who I'd Be - Shrek The Musical
Can I just say that Shrek is underrated and is honestly one of my favorite musicals ever. Also Donkey is my dream role. Anyway, this song always gets me. The possibilities seem endless when you first get to college. It can be daunting being bombarded with countless clubs to apply to, classes to take, and feeling the pressure of making a career choice right away. But remember that you are so young, and you have lots of time to figure out who you'll be. If you really want to have an emotional, center stage (of your shower) moment, make sure you wait for the bridge.

For Good - Wicked
It was probably played at your high school graduation so it should be fresh in your mind. A hopeful, tear-jerking, emotion provoking perfect song from my favorite musical of all time. If you are missing your "home friends", a sibling, a parent, or anyone else from home who has had a special impact on your life, stand in front of your mirror and watch your tear-filled face sing this duet solo style.

On My Own Les Misérables
Another Les Mis ballad-bop (can I coin that term?) because during your first few months at college, you will be just that; on your own. Ok, that sounds really dismal. I don't mean that too literally -- you will have friends and will be meeting lots of new people. However, you will also find yourself exploring a type of independence you have never had before. It's super important to anticipate and become comfortable with being alone during college, especially at the start.

No One Is Alone - Into The Woods
Now on a contradictory note, (because college is a sharp intersection of independence and community) remember, no matter what you feel during your first few months of college, you are not alone. As Sondheim wrote, "Nothing's quite so clear now/Do things, fight things/Feel you've lost your way?/You decide, but/You are not alone/Believe me". Trust me when I say this -- you will feel like you are out of place, like you are failing, that everything is confusing and going wrong. If you feel these things, just know that it is normal. No matter what comes your way during your first semester at college, remember that there is always someone also going through it. Even if all of our struggles are not identical, they are similar, and there will always be people to support you if you look for them.

You Will Be Found - Dear Evan Hansen
Despite how it looks on social media, everyone is struggling while trying to navigate this new life and establish themselves on campus. Let it out to some Dear Evan Hansen, dance around your room, and remember, it will get better so soon and eventually, you will be found.

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