College is one of the most exciting and fun places to be, but it can also be the most overwhelming and stressful environments possible, but only if you let it be.

The sophomore year of the college version of myself has come a very long way, however; the freshman year of high school version of myself was a completely different story.

I used to be the textbook definition of an anxious person who stressed about literally everything, big or small. Anxiety caused by stress is the absolute worst. Especially when you are stressing over something you know you should not have to get all worked up over.

Freshman year of high school, my heart raced a little too fast every time the words "test," "quiz," "project," or "reading assignment" were spoken.

I was constantly on edge about everything and could never sit still and feel content with my life.

In addition to feeling stressed about school, my relationships, and having to function as a normal human every day, I had severe cystic acne I was extremely insecure about. My acne made me feel absolutely terrible about myself and I wanted to hide and not leave the house because that meant other people would have to see my acne. I got on Accutane, which has a grocery list of side effects, one being depression.

I became extremely depressed and it was a very scary feeling. It could be the sunniest and beautiful day ever, but I felt like I was stuck hundreds of feet inside a dark cave. Feeling depressed and on edge is not beneficial to anyone's health, and I'm glad I finally realized a change needed to be made because I could not live like this anymore.

I went to my doctor and expressed my concerns and let her know exactly how I was feeling. We discussed my options and the one we decided on was going on an antidepressant. It sounded scary at the time, but now it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Taking an antidepressant is one of the main reasons I am able to live this relatively stress-free lifestyle. I probably do not NEED to take this medication anymore, but the way it has enabled me to slow down and relax in all aspects of life is something I am not willing to give up.

One philosophy I have developed over the past four years is to stop doing the things that are creating unnecessary stress and anxiety in your life. It almost sounds overly simplified, but it's actually super difficult for most people to do.

Applying this to school is one of the hardest things for college students, but I believe it is more than doable! Studying is great and necessary to make good grades, but the second you feel yourself getting worked up over the material, put it down. Either keep it down, or pick it back up, but only when you have returned to a normal and relaxed mental state.

No class, assignment, or exam is worth risking your mental health over. It simply is not. Living simply and listening to your body is the number one way you can live a stress-free life. If you ignore the signs and disregard how anxious a particular activity or person is making you feel, you are only damaging and hurting yourself.