Going into my sophomore year of college in 2014, I was SO excited. I was thrilled to be back with my friends, and start getting back into the swing of things. I liked my classes and loved my professors. It seemed like I had all my ducks in a row, and I couldn’t wait to make my sophomore year the best one yet.

I remember one morning I woke up, and I was scared. I had a presentation that day, and an overwhelming amount of anxiety came over me. I felt like I was going to throw up, or faint. I felt weak at the knees and couldn’t push myself to make it to class. I skipped my presentation that morning. In a moment of weakness, I made a decision based on fear. I let my panic attack win. Ever since that day, my panic attacks only got worse. I knew how easy it was to walk away, and didn’t want to do the tough stuff to make myself feel better.

Between my panic attacks, and having mono I was at an all time low when I ended the first semester of my sophomore year. I packed my bags for winter break, my parents picked me up, and I drove back to New York. I was disappointed in myself. I knew I was better than that.

That winter break, I was going on a trip to Hawaii with other students who were in the same Honor’s program as I was. I found my panic attacks taking over myself, and making me more scared to go then I was excited. It wasn’t until this moment I had realized I had to stop letting my panic attacks win. I decided I would never look back. From this moment on I would stop letting fear make my decisions.

As I entered my second semester sophomore year, I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was taking a public speaking class (crazy, I know), and got an A in it. But most importantly, I was SO happy.

In a few weeks, I will officially be a senior at the University of Hartford. I can easily say that I like public speaking (go figure), and I can happily say I haven’t had a panic attack since the day I stopped letting them win.

Anxiety comes from not knowing what the future holds — it comes from not knowing what comes next. But, why worry about what the future has in store for you when you can enjoy what is happening now. You don’t need medication or therapy to defeat anxiety. What you do need is to believe in yourself. Believe that everything is going to be OK, because it will be. All anxiety is, is fear. So why not turn fear into a friend? Why not turn the feeling of anxiety into the feeling of excitement? One day, you will wake up and everything won’t seem so scary anymore. The only problem you will be facing that day is what food is the least worse to eat at the dining hall.

Stop living in fear, and start living in the now.