To My Fellow Struggling College Student,
The operative word in my opener is "fellow." Please trust me when I say that no matter how much fun everyone around you may seem like they're having, you are not the only person having a hard time. Before you stop reading this, thinking it's going to be some patronizing article written by some teenage girl who thinks she has the right to tell you how to act and how to feel, let me tell you that it's not. Yes, I'm a girl (but I'm 20, not a teenager) but I definitely won't tell you how to act or feel. In actuality, quite the opposite
You are entitled to every single emotion you're feeling right now. Whether it's sad, angry, confused or scared, they are all valid. No one has the right to tell you things like, "you're creating your own stress" or "you're overreacting," because they are not you and do not get to tell you how to feel. I'm going to go ahead and say the words that no adult seems to understand: college is stressful. Between studying, applications, work and exercise, sometimes it can feel hard to breathe. And living in a world where we're encouraged to hide any emotion that isn't pure happiness is not only ridiculous, but also wrong. So feel how you feel, and don't let anyone tell you that it's wrong.
You should also know that you're not the only college student who feels that way. I'm sure you've heard a thousand times about how social media isn't real life, but it might make more sense with specific examples. The girl who posted a picture laughing with her friends? She fought with one of them two days ago. The girl who Instagrammed a cool picture of her coffee? She's spent eight hours stressing out about job applications. The girl who tweeted a picture of her cute running shoes? She hates her body and can barely run two miles. I'm sure you're thinking these are the same cliche, hypothetical examples that you've always heard. The truth is, they're all real. How do I know this? Because they're all examples of pictures I've posted and ways that I've felt, straight out of my own life. So even if you feel alone, take it from a junior at the University of Notre Dame, you're not.
Lastly, remember that you are loved. Even if your day is simply atrocious from start to finish, I guarantee that someone out there, be it your mom, dad, sister, aunt, cousin, best friend or even dog, loves you endlessly. And remembering that can make every hard day a little bit easier.
But always remember: you're my fellow struggling college student, and you are not alone.
An empathetic (and also struggling) college student