Why You Need To Start Prioritizing Your Mental Health
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Here's To A New Beginning Of Prioritizing Our Mental Health

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Here's To A New Beginning Of Prioritizing Our Mental Health
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I think from the first day of the semester, I was already done with it and ready for winter break.

I know I'm not alone on that boat, I was just ready to call it quits and ready to throw in the towel.

Now, you're probably thinking, "Why are you being so hard on yourself?" and my answer to that is...I can't really give you a definite answer. I think it was because I knew I could do better than what I was actually doing.

My academic performance was failing. Plummeting to probably my worst academic performance that I had ever seen since my sophomore year of high school. That's a whole different discussion for another day, but, it was rough, and I was ready to just give up.

I realized that me taking 15 credits was enough for me. I need 12 credits to be considered a full-time student at my school, and I knew that I needed to be a full-time student for personal and other reasons. I just felt that those credits were going to be the death of me. On top of those credits, I was job-hopping, trying to find something that would work around my school schedule.

I now work three jobs to get by.

Crazy, I know, but I needed to find some way to support myself. I'm twenty-one years old and I don't want to depend on my parents for the rest of my life. I needed to prove to myself and others that I was capable of doing it.

I didn't know how to prioritize. I didn't know how to get my shit together and stack my cards in the right order. Sure, I had a planner, but I didn't look at that religiously. I pushed myself to the point where I felt exhausted and burnt out and frankly didn't care about anything anymore.

It got to the point where my job was affecting my mental health. I was having mental breakdowns because I had so much going through my brain, trying to figure out what I was going to do after work, and how I was going to get things done before I had to go back to work the following day. My managers didn't care, I would sit in the back room and cry, and their reaction? Threatening to write me up if I told them I was going home. I wasn't happy there and left that job very quick.

I kept pushing myself further and further, piling more and more on top of the things that I already had stacked that I finally had enough. And it really took a toll on my grades in school. I feared going on academic probation, I feared having to retake classes, I feared all the worst and I didn't want my academic performance to possibly affect internships I would want.

I love writing about sports, figuring out statistics with athletes, following the news and rumors going on. I love being able to communicate with others who care about the same interests as me. But that doesn't matter when it came to my academic performance. Christian Yelich hitting 44 home runs wouldn't help me solve the Pythagorean theorem. What really mattered was how I actually was doing on exams and papers, and boy does college really make you think about your entire way of learning up to that point.

I hate exams. Plain and simple, there isn't any other way around it. Exams are the literal death of me. They make me want to pull a 2007 Britney Spears and shave my head. Leading up to an exam, I feel like I will remember the content, I feel like I can remember what I need to know and then I'm handed the actual exam and my mind goes blank. I don't remember anything I've learned up to that point and I start to stress out to the extremes. I find it hard to bring things into my brain that I remember reading about five minutes prior to taking the exam. There have been exams I haven't been able to finish because it was that hard for me to figure out how to solve problems. And trust me, I beat myself up pretty hard for that.

I would walk out of the exam just slapping myself in the forehead. I would go back and look at the notes and see that I would mix up concepts, and just start swearing at myself like no other. "Why didn't I think of that?" "Why does everything seem to just disappear when I get the exam?" "That was so easy to remember, how didn't I think of that?" "I made things way harder than they had to be."

Now with things like writing articles for Odyssey and about the Milwaukee Brewers, I can write about things like that no problem and remember stats that happened in 1982 at the World Series. But when it comes to writing a paper or taking a test about genetics or solving complex math problems? Count me out. I don't have to listen to a specific format, I don't have to follow specific guidelines, I'm free to write what I want and give my own opinion about things.

Going into winter break, I know that I need to start taking things more seriously.

If I want to succeed, I need to prioritize my mental health and stop when I know I've had enough, and not continue to push myself to my breaking point.

It made me feel a million times better knowing that I'm not alone and that's why I'm writing this article today.

You're definitely not alone with your feelings of giving up, feelings of helplessness. Things do get better! Finals are over, we can finally breathe and forget everything that happened this last semester.

Here's to us, here's to a new beginning. You're killing the game.

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