How College Helped Me to Overcome a Problem that was Overtaking my Life
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Health Wellness

College And My Anxiety Were A Bad Combination At First, But It Has Made Me A Better Person By Having To Learn To Manage It

How I went from being my own worst enemy to my biggest fan

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College And My Anxiety Were A Bad Combination At First, But It Has Made Me A Better Person By Having To Learn To Manage It
Rachel Shelley

Packing for college as an eager, incoming freshman, my list consisted of about four pairs of the exact same black leggings, every single pair of Nike running shorts that my sister let me claim, and an unnecessary surplus of "no show" socks.

Throw in some toiletries, decorations, peanut butter filled snacks, and a laptop, and that about sums it up. A few trips home took care of the items I had forgotten about, but there was not much I could do about the unnecessary baggage clinging to me like a dryer sheet sticks to your newly dried laundry.

My anxiety lived in the back of my mind, waiting for any and all opportunities to make me second guess my every move.

Growing up, I always joked about being socially awkward (and my friends were guilty of this too). I absolutely hated talking on the phone, the idea of a job interview made me sick to my stomach, and I avoided answering my front door like the plague.

Fast forward a few years, and I can no longer credit my nervous habits to my age as the "awkward stage" of my life was supposed to have ended when I graduated junior high. Fast forward a few more years and the thought of attending a career fair brought me to tears. I gained a few pounds and my world was falling apart right in front of me.

I overslept an 8 am lecture, and suddenly, my future career plans seemed too far out of reach. I felt like I was constantly working on something new, yet I never felt accomplished.

I was swimming in what felt like piles of work while trying to balance a full eighteen credits with working out, a social life, and making sure I got at least five hours of sleep each night.

Every small obstacle loomed like a mountain in front of me. It seemed the more I needed to get done, the less my brain wanted to cooperate. I knew what I had to do and I knew when it had to be done, but the idea of actually picking up my pen and writing even 500 words seemed like running a marathon on two hours of sleep.

This feeling began to take a physical, mental, and emotional toll on my body. My mind was constantly racing, running in circles around the same problems.

Every day these tasks, which seemed so monumental at the time, would overwhelm my brain and take control of my life. Sitting in class all I could focus on was getting to the gym in an hour, walking to the gym my mind was obsessing over the paper I had to finish by tomorrow night.

The same track played over and over in my head and it was all I could hear. My life was no longer mine, it belonged to the voice in my head telling me no matter how far up the mountain I climbed, the peak would never get closer.

Today, I'm sitting in the tech writing an article for Temple Odyssey, I just left the gym, and I submitted a project earlier this week that isn't due until next. I didn't wake up one day and magically become an expert in time management, and I surely did not overcome my anxiety in a week –– I still feel it every day.

But, if reflecting on my freshman year taught me anything at all, it taught me to not sweat the small stuff. I write out "To Do" lists, I call my mom, I take a step back, and I just breathe.

I breathe because I know if I skip the gym one day, it's because I have a huge exam the next, and if I get a "C" on a paper, it's probably not ruining my chances of ever getting a good job. Instead of letting tasks pile up, I write them down and when I complete them, I cross them off. I tell myself I have one paper, one exam, and two hours at the gym I need to get done in a day. A whole day!

What seemed impossible last year, is beginning to feel like second nature to me now.

A career fair? Piece of cake.

A research paper due in a month? Already started.

College brought me to a point where my anxiety controlled my entire life, but it also forced me to deal with the issues it caused.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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