It happens every year and I am glad I am finally graduating.
It sounds bad but having a mental break down at least once a semester is quite normal for me, but it shouldn't be. I remember my first breakdown during my sophomore year. I had four 5-page essays due in the same week (communications major, let me tell ya) and my organization skills were not up to par. On top of that, I had a presentation on cytomegalovirus (say that three times fast) that I just felt I wasn't ready for. Following an all-nighter, I was sitting in a private room in the library. I remember having close to twenty tabs open on my computer, 3 notebooks spread around the table, flipping through 2 textbooks and my sanity heading out the door. I felt overwhelmed and extremely stressed, but I had to finish.
I was getting things done with my red bull in hand and tab count slowly going down. Then it happened; the worst thing that could happen to any college student during finals.
My computer died.
My jaw dropped, my heart went to my ass. I thought I lost it all, papers, PowerPoints, and surely my sanity. I had the charger in my bag and could have easily plugged it in and rebooted but this was my breaking point. I slammed my computer shut, pushed my chair back and started bawling my eyes out. I curled into a ball and went under the table.
This was one of the lowest points in my college career. I cried for about 15 minutes until I got a phone call. It was my cousin with comforting words, well, l more like words of angst and anger. She was pissed that I was pushing myself too hard and knew I could do better. She asked why I didn't seek help at the library or with classmates. I know my stubbornness was the problem, but that was something I kept to myself. I had nothing to say, I just wanted to keep crying. She stayed on the phone in silence letting me have my moment.
Once I calmed down, she asked me the question that I was not asked for a long time, "how are you really doing?". I realized that every time I was asked this, I gave the usual "good!" answer but that wasn't true. It was just common courtesy. I thought no one truly cared about how things were going for me. Everyone had their own problems and I didn't want to add on to that, so I kept it all in my big head.
This was the problem. Keeping everything inside was the worst thing I could have done. I knew I could always call my cousin for help or go to the writing center to edit my papers and give me advice. I knew there were resources but for some reason, I never took the time to reach out. My pride had gotten the best of me.
Looking back, I will never make that mistake again. I've become more organized, learned better study techniques, and listened to my body and mind when I needed a break. This is something many students do not do but should. Don't let yourself reach that breaking point. Focus on one thing and give it your best. Once that is done move on to the next but avoid looking at everything at once. That will just make your brain explode. Write down due dates and try not to procrastinate as I did. Get going on work once it is assigned. Even if that is just reading the prompts and requirements.
College isn't meant to be the most stressful time in your life, it's meant to be the BEST time in your life. You only have one body and mind, so take care of yourself during this time.
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