About a month or so in and all of a sudden the newness of the school year has worn off, leaving us with the realization that oh yeah, we actually have to do this now. It can be easy to get caught up in the shiny aspects of college, from greek life, clubs, parties, sports; The world is our oyster and we're encouraged to spread our wings a little and see what's out there. However, it's double edged sword; yes we're having the time of our lives, meeting new people, and experiencing the "college life," but there also comes the weight of homework...and exams...and quizzes....and the scary thought that after these next few years, it's time for the real world.
Know that you can't do everything. Realize that while there may be so many things you want to be a part of, you have to take a step back and remember to not overload yourself. The pressure of trying to balance your academic and social life can be a struggle, so allow yourself to breath every once in a while. That being said, you're going to experience a lot of "No's" during this time of your life. You're bound to encounter rejection, but you're also bound to rise above it. You are not your failures, the No's don't define you or your self worth, see it as an awakening that your energy and drive will be best directed at another project. As someone who was always involved or held office in high school, rejection wasn't in my vocabulary. Coming into college and facing the reality that you won't always get picked for something crushed me, yet I somehow got though and came out stronger. I even got told No from three different organizations in the same week. Things like this hurt, they really do. They make you question how "good enough" you are and forces the thought that there's something wrong with you.
College is the gateway: you get to find your place, discover new sides you didn't know existed, and just live. It's a time of acceptance and getting turned away, whether it be for jobs, internships, committees , etc.., the best we can do is keep moving forward. Use the rejection as a motivator, not a prohibitor, let it refocus your goals and point you in the right direction. Similarly, view the acceptance as a reminder that you have a place. You'll find your yes, and when you do, it'll be your best yes. So keep moving forward, because whatever is out there, it is definitely calling your name.
Chances are you've decided on a major, you roughly have a plan on what you want to do and how you're going to do it. Every degree is different, from STEM, the fine arts, to education, we all go through periods of doubt. This fear is called Imposter Syndrome and is more than often looked over. Your classes will be hard, that's a guarantee,. You're going to stress and maybe even cry, that's normal. You're also going to study for hours and still not get the grade you were hoping for, and that's ok. There'll be times when college breaks your spirit, take it as someone who couldn't do calculus and almost switched from chemical engineering to political science the first week of classes. It WILL get tough, but for the love of everything, you cannot give in.
Imposter syndrome instills the mindset that you are not meant to be where you are, that just because you're struggling, you don't belong alongside everyone else. It invalidates everything you have accomplished and makes you feel like there's always something to prove, like if you aren't on the same level as those around you, you're behind. There'll be classes that'll make you feel inadequate, a bad exam grade that will have you question if this what you really want to do, or concepts that your mind just can't understand. But you're not alone, find tutoring, form study groups, and make the effort. Remember that sometimes you have to take a step back in order to go forwards. You ARE capable, you DO belong, and chances are, everyone in that lecture hall is just as scared as you are. It's okay to need help, your college years are the years of learning.
All in all, your mental health is vital, prioritize it. It can be easy to become overwhelmed and feel like the world is crashing down, most of us go through it once a week, because it's college. It's scary to be in a new environment, feel homesick, or experience everything for the first time...frankly, it's terrifying. Getting clouded by all the negative thoughts can drag us into an emotionally draining limbo. But you're here, you've made it this far and you'll be damned if anything gets in your way. Find the little pockets of joy, hold onto them, and look for the moments of happiness that make this all worth it. Stay grounded and allow yourself to feel, not repress. Surround yourself with those who will support you during such a pivotal part of your life.
You're going to come out a completely different person than who you were walking in, and that's not a bad thing. There'll be ups and down and as you go through it, remember one thing:
College is tough, but by God, so are you.