Anxious, Accepting And Assiduous

Anxious, Accepting And Assiduous

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."- Walt Disney
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February 4th: Today has been an anxious day. I had to sleep in bed with my sister last night because my mind wouldn’t stop racing. I had to stop and think, why do I have these angry butterflies tap dancing in my stomach? Truth be told, it stems from my fear of taking my last semester of Hebrew. Many of the people close to me understand the obstacles my sister and I have had to face with Hebrew throughout our college career. We went from passing with flying colors to struggling to get by our Freshman year. That is when we decided to take a break for a few years. We figured that we would eventually find a Hebrew course online. Well, our Senior year we actually took Hebrew again at The College. The head of the Jewish Studies department contacted us and informed us that there would be a new professor. "Fabulous," we thought.

We thought wrong.

Now, the complications we had to power through in Hebrew is a story for another day. (I still have to graduate without burning any bridges). So I’m here to talk about anxiety, strength and dealing with what may seem like the end of the world.

The crippling wave of emotions that can consume my entire being with just one thought used to be normal. I thought it was the way everyone reacted in times of stress. In elementary school I remember balling myself up on the floor, hysterically crying because I was worried about my history test the next day. My dad took my textbook from me and told me to stop pushing myself too hard. I always studied long and aggressively, but my mind never thought it was enough. My best friend would throw my notes away because I could not stop studying up until the very last second before my exam. (I also use to throw up before an assessment, something I've grown out of...for the most part). I never had a reason why my body reacted with such distress, I believed it was just how life was.

Finally, I was diagnosed with anxiety in college.

I’ve said it before, and I'll say it again, getting diagnosed is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am happier than ever, and it gave me a solution. I finally understand why my brain doesn’t stop and why I feel in extremes. I've accepted and embraced who I am. As a result, I've been able to change the things that provoke my worries and keep the things that don't.

However, there are still times I wake up, go to bed or walk around with a nauseating pit in my stomach. It comes and goes, but I now know how to deal with it.

For example, Monday, February 5th I woke up with an intense, overwhelming sensation. Sometimes, my anxiety pushes me to get stuff done. Other times, it turns me into a complete mess. This time, I was a little bit of both. I signed onto my Hebrew account, called my mom to tell her my fears and planned my schedule out for the week. Now, when I start to become overwhelmed, I have one fix: writing. So instead of doing my Hebrew homework that doesn’t make any sense, here, I am writing about the anxiety I have over not knowing what my homework means.

Through all of this crazy mess of emotions, there's one thing I know that keeps me sane: I will get through it. It may be hard. It may feel like hell. But I am doing the best I can, and that is all that matters. I’m working hard, getting help and I will find a way to pass Hebrew. Even though the road to the finish line is going to be rocky, I will get there. This thought is something that helps me get through not only this class but life. I know that every path isn’t going to be a quick route, but I will get to the end (well, really it’s just a checkpoint). Isn't that kind of cool though? It's as if life is full of levels and we have to take it step by step to reach full fulfillment.

I guess I'll be fulfilled after I pass Hebrew. (fulFILLED with relief). So, that’s my piece of wisdom for this week. Shit may look rough, but it’s up to us to keep pushing and have faith in ourselves to get past it. Having amazing people around you is a pretty good motivator, especially when they sit there and listen to you vent (Thanks, guys—you all know who you are).

Until next week…

Cover Image Credit: Elisa Riva

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What Nobody Is Going To Tell You About Freshman Year

What no one will tell you about your first step to adulthood.
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Attending college for the first time is a time filled with high expectations, excitement, nerves, and a lot of hope for the future.

If you were anything like me, you were lucky enough to get accepted into your dream school with a lot of high hopes about the upcoming year. I couldn't wait to move into my freshman dorm, no matter how little or crappy it might have been, I was undoubtedly excited. The year was fresh (literally) and I couldn't wait to start living a college lifestyle and meet the people I was going to be friends with for the next four years of my life and hopefully even longer. I had never been so excited about going back-to-school shoppingand started packing and preparing for the move weeks in advance.

I had this image in my head of what freshman year was going to be like and it looked a lot like something you would see on an ABC Family or MTV show rather than what the reality of freshman year really was. I would be sitting here lying to you if I told you my freshman year was the best year of my life and to expect to have a year full of parties and fun with no responsibilities. The fact of the matter is, freshman year is your first real step into adulthood. It is your first unsheltered, uncensored, version of the real world that your parents (for the most part) have no control over. While this truly is an exciting thing, if you're not prepared for it freshman year can be a lot more stressful than expected.

I wish someone told me that the people I met the first week of school weren't going to be my best friends the whole year and not to take it to heart when they stop talking to you. You meet SO many people your first few weeks of school and you want to be friends with literally all of them. But in college, unlike high school, you probably won't see those same people every day so maintaining relationships takes a lot more work than before. To be honest, you may forget what it was like to actually make a new friend, especially if you were friends with the same people all through high school.

I wish someone told me that my study habits in high school absolutely will not hold up in college. When you were told to “read the text" in high school for homework, you wrote “no homework" in your planner for that day. Reading your text book in high school was actually laughed at in most situations and if you didn't have an end of the year freak out about where your text books were, you were doing it wrong.R ead your textbooks, every page, every chapter. Write everything down, from notes to homework, it's all important.

I wish someone told me the “freshman 15" was absolutely not a myth. Despite the fact that I spent countless nights in our campus gym, the freshman 15 was still gained and stayed. I couldn't tell you why or how this happens, but expect to gain a few pounds your first year of college. Whether it's from all of the campus cookies you couldn't have passed your final without or from all the delicious new food options, expect to be a few pounds heavier when returning home for Thanksgiving. And most importantly, know that you don't look any different despite how you feel, and know that this will most likely happen to everyone.

I wish someone told me that it's OK to say no to people. After you get to know your hall mates and become closer with the people you've met your first few weeks of college, you quickly learn that there is always something going on. Learn that you don't have to agree to attend everything someone invites you to. If you need to stay home and study, speak up. Don't just say yes to please someone or because you feel like you will lose that person as a friend if you say no. Learn to put you and your needs first, and if someone judges you because you decided to study rather than go out, so be it. You're here to learn not to socialize. It's OK to decline peoples offers.

I wish someone told me to go to class no matter how tired I was. Fun fact about college: you don't technically have to go to class if you don't want to. But for the sake of your grades, please go to class. You only get the chance to learn the material once, and you will be tested on the lecture material whether you were there or not. One tired day may cost you a good grade in the class, no joke. Go to every class you can and take detailed notes. (Tip: you can usually take pictures of the slides/diagrams as well, it helps a lot.)

I wish someone told me that only my true friends from high school will remain my friends in college. Losing contact with high school friends is a given in college. Even the people you swore were your closest friends may forget about you in the craziness of freshman year. The good news is you are at a school with thousands of people looking to make new friends and they will fill the empty spaces that old ones left.

I wish someone told me to be careful at parties. Although it is very rare something bad happens, it is true that parties aren't the safest place. Especially for the freshmen, it's easy to just go to the party that everyone else is going to without knowing anything about the place or who is going to be there. Look out for your friends and stay together. Navigating a college town at night is scary and can be dangerous. Know where you are going beforehand and always have a way home. Don't always trust people you have just met and never leave a cup unattended.

I wish someone told me my grades aren't going to be as great in college as they were in high school. Expect your GPA to drop at least half a point, usually. You're going to have a lot of distractions in college and a lot less structure in your schedule. Keeping a balance truly is a difficult task and your grades aren't going to always be what you want them to be. You will learn the perfect combination to keep your grades and yourself happy. Give it some time and don't beat yourself up if you get a C in a class or two. You have three years to make up for it.

I wish someone told me that getting homesick is completely normal. The first few spells of homesickness I had scared me to death. I was afraid that if I was homesick it meant that I didn't like the school I was at or that something was wrong or missing. This is usually not the case even though it may feel that way at times. You're going to miss home no matter how much you wished your way out of it from day one. Home is what is familiar to you and what you know and it's easy to crave that when you're somewhere completely different. Don't let it get the best of you and just know that a call home will fix anything and everything. Don't be afraid to call your parents and friends from home. They miss you, too.

I wish someone told me that you only get one freshman year at the college of your dreams so live it up and learn your lessons. Have the time of your life, make all of the friends you can, join clubs and organizations you're passionate about, get involved on your campus and in your community, and take nothing for granted. You only get to do college once (if all goes well) and you're paying to be here and get an education. Make the most of every situation and learn about yourself and the people around you. There is so much to be done and so much to learn in your four years here but especially the first. Make the most of it and don't forget your morals or who you are!

Cover Image Credit: Cailin Austin

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Why It Is Okay To Withdraw From A Course You Are Doing Bad In

Not every class is easy.

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College is not meant to be hard and there will be classes that you know nothing about. The goal of a course is for you to learn. If you simply can not grasp the topic that is being discussed in class, you can ALWAYS get help. Campuses offer a lot of help like tutoring or even going to the professor for help on assignments.

There may come a point where even help can not even help you learn what the course is about. At that point, your best bet would be to withdraw from the course. A lot of students struggle with coming to the concept that they may have to do this. To help myself, I made a list that consisted of pros and cons.

The list of cons, although very short, consisted of: having to take another course that would make up for the missing credits, and the people in my class knowing that I quit.

I eliminated that last con with my list of pros: having more time on my hand to focus on my other classes, I would still be a full time student, an online class may be easier for me to learn in, it is better to have a W on my transcript instead of an F, and failing could seriously drop my GPA.

Now that I have withdrawn from the course that was taking so much of my time, I finally feel free and am doing better in my other courses. To conclude, it is never wrong to withdraw from a course and there are many reasons why it is not wrong. If you feel as though you are struggling, do what you need to do for yourself.

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