College Hasn't Been The So-Called "Best Years of My Life"

College Has NOT Been The Best Years Of My Life And I'm Very Over It

"Done" doesn't describe enough how I feel with this period in my life.

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All I've heard from people, movies, and TV is that college is amazing, "some of the best years of your life."

College is supposed to be where you meet your lifelong friends and future bridesmaids. You learn hard, have fun, go to parties, do some fun extracurricular that helps give your life meaning. You become best friends with your roommate and easily make friends with people through various things, meaning you never have to do things alone. Your weekends are always filled with fun plans.

I'm sorry, but that isn't always the truth.

College is not amazing. It's hard. It's exhausting. It's stressful. It's expensive and ridiculous and filled with stupid people, both students and staff alike.

I'm a senior, and I'm so over college it's not even funny.

No, it's not (just) senioritis - although that is super real for me right now. Maybe I sound jaded. But any other student who, like me, haven't had the "ideal" college experience would sound exactly the same way.

I switched majors and minors several times. I got my first apartment with someone who turned out to be a really bad roommate (she legit caused us to get a mice infestation). I worked two internships and am currently working a third, and have been through three part-time jobs, two of which were total messy disasters. I had so much friend drama with people who turned out to be really toxic.

This is just the shorthand of my less-than-satisfactory college years.

For the most part, I have gone through college alone with a pretty nonexistent social life. Neither my freshman and sophomore year roommates became the "roommate is your best friend" cliche...far from it. I had friends in my first two years of college, but they went to other schools and turned out to be less-than-great people. I've been in a relationship since starting college, but we've been primarily long-distance.

Let me tell you, going through college physically alone sucks hard. It's great and all to text people and send Snaps back and forth, but it isn't the same as having someone physically there. And when what feels like everyone else at your school has a life and friends, the FOMO is real.

I entered college undecided. I found a major sophomore year...and then had to switch it junior year once I realized I didn't have the skills set for my old major. Imagine having one idea, for the first time ever, of what you want to do with your life, only to have it ripped out of your hands by the realization that you're no good at it.

Since I began college, my mental health grew worse.

Unfortunately, I'm just one of many college students who experience worse mental health during college. On top of your usual college stress, I've been dealing with new environments, trying to discover myself outside of my religious upbringing, a long-distance relationship, working terrible part-time jobs, making new friends and losing friends - all of top of dealing with anxiety, depression, and slight OCD.

My mental disorders made me feel everything much more intensely and all at once, which could be incredibly overwhelming. I started having suicidal thoughts, wanting nothing more than to just stop feeling everything so intensely. Only my boyfriend knew about how bad my mental health was getting, and bless him for helping me get through these last few years.

Side note: I returned to therapy about a year and a half ago and started medication roughly one year ago. Both have helped IMMENSELY, making college and its stress a bit easier to handle since my brain isn't going into hyperdrive about homework, due dates, and being on time. If you are struggling with mental health in college, please get help. You do not have to go through it alone.

I'm currently working an internship in a marketing agency, and it's pretty much my dream job. The environment and people are great, it's laidback, and I can wear leggings to work (yes, you read that right. It's amazing how much more productive you can be when you're comfortable!!). It's by far one of the best things to happen to me during college.

BUT. I feel like I have learned more in the rough month I've been there than I have since beginning my mass communications major. That's just under two years of college versus roughly a month of internship. The pacing of college is also incredibly slow compared to the work environment. I've done more hands-on marketing tasks of all kinds in just a few days, while my current class is slowly moving through ONE project.

Sitting in class now feels like a drag because I know what I'm learning could be taught faster. So needless to say, the senioritis is seriously kicking in - and I don't graduate until December.

Oh, and the parties aspect of college?

You don't just happen to discover parties. You have to know the people who are throwing one or someone who somehow always knows where the parties are. The only parties I've ever been to were in sophomore year...at my boyfriend's college. Being surrounded by drunk strangers and blasting rap music at some stranger's house: not totally my scene. If I'm going to social drink, I'm going to do it with friends in a friend's place.

In short, my college experience has been about four years of drama and hecticness.

College has been stressful, mentally draining, and physically and emotionally exhausting. December and graduation cannot come fast enough.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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