From the time I even began thinking about going to college, everyone and their mother told me, "College is the best time of your life." I was convinced that college would be this easy, breezy experience filled with parties and fun classes and friends.
Newsflash: that's not always the case.
For me, personally, freshmen year was a lot of figuring out the campus and how college works overall. I'm from a small town and graduated with roughly 40 people, so the entire concept of college and walking across campus and having these advanced, diverse classes was new to me. I thought, "sophomore year everything will fall into place for me." Except it didn't socially, I found my major and started working towards that but I still didn't really have friends at college and I wasn't having "the time of my life."
However, it started to get harder and harder. I would get anxiety just thinking about going to class and showing my work. I thought the teachers were judging me for my looks and my work. In reality, the teachers want nothing more than for me to succeed. But in my mind, I had it so twisted that I thought the teachers were my enemies, instead of my allies. My junior year I began to think something else was going on. I went to the on-campus health clinic and was told I should see a psychiatrist because I was showing signs of depression.
I felt like a failure because college was easy, right? It was the time of my life? But for me, it was horrible and some of the worst times of my life. What was wrong with me??
The answer is, nothing at all.
I thought I would take to college like a fish to water but in reality, it was a big change for me and I wasn't adapting well and my grades and social life reflected that. Once I started treatment and started taking steps towards being better, I saw a huge change in my experience with college.
I made friends easier, I loved coming to class, some teachers even became friends instead of just allies. It was like I was seeing the world clearly. However, I want to make it clear that my mental health wasn't a wrong reaction, it's actually very common. Most students begin to realize that they're leaving the nest officially and entering the adult world. And the adult world isn't as fun as we always thought it was.
If your college experience isn't as great as you feel it should be and you feel like you're struggling with happiness and energy, I advise you to consult a doctor, preferably an on campus clinic because they're trained for treating people in your exact position. There's absolutely zero shame in being in your position, in fact, you should feel pride in knowing that you're going to seek help to make yourself better. That's the biggest first step you can take.