13 Reminders For The College Student Nearing A Breakdown

13 Reminders For The College Student Nearing A Breakdown During Finals

Only getting 3 hours of sleep is not something to be proud of.

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Let's be honest, finals is stressing us all out. Many of us are on the brink of an emotional breakdown from the stress already and those who aren't probably will be soon. Finals is way worse than anyone could have prepared for, but we will all get through it. It will be two weeks of complete hell, but you got this. Here's a few reminders to help you maintain your sanity in a time of pure stress.

1. "Doing your best" does not mean working yourself to the point of a mental breakdown

You can only do so much studying before your brain is full. You eventually hit a point where staying in the library for another hour won't be beneficial, it will be detrimental. "Doing your best" is trying your hardest, nowhere does it say that doing your best should mean sacrificing your sanity or wellbeing. If you feel like you cannot do any more work, then be done for the day; overworking yourself is just as bad for your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes.

2. Try not to compare yourself to those around you

Yes, the person sitting next to you might have gotten an A on their paper, but if you got a B or a C or even a D, that's okay. Grades are measured in letters or numbers, but remember that it's all about how far you've come and how hard you tried. If you tried your hardest and the best you could get was a C, be proud of that C--you worked hard for it. Comparing yourself to your peers will only inflict more stress on yourself because everyone is different.

3. You can start over next semester

One bad test won't ruin your life; one bad course won't ruin your life; one bad semester won't ruin your life. There's always next semester to do better. Ten years down the road, the grade you got in Philosophy 1000 will most likely mean nothing. Learn from your mistakes this semester and know what to do better next semester.

4. Your self worth does not depend on what others think and say about you

A professor might think you are stupid because you do bad on a test, your classmates might think you are slacking if you appear to not be paying attention in class; what they think does not matter. Don't let someone get in your head if they criticize you for whatever grade you got or how many classes you are taking. You are not defined by their opinion of you.

5. If you struggle with a mental illness and you relapse in some way during finals season, it does not diminish the progress you have made

Finals season is added stress for everyone, but particularly people who struggle with a mental illness tend to feel the stress more intensely. Relapsing at anytime is normal, mental illnesses are a lifetime struggle, but people are more prone to them during times of high stress. Remember that one step back is nothing compared to all the progress you have already made.

6. School does not come first; your wellbeing does

Often times we are told that "school comes first" or "school is your only job" by parents, professors, etc. This is not true. Your wellbeing comes first and you have more than one job, one of them being to take care of yourself. Put yourself first, even before school work. Yes, your education is for you and it betters you as a person, but sacrificing your health is not worth anything.

7. Asking for help does not make you weak

If you can't come up with an idea for a paper, go to the writing center. If you are confused about a topic, go to your professor's office hours. If you're struggling mentally, go to the counseling center. There is no shame in needing help in any aspect of your life. There is a reason they provide all these resources.

8. If you're tired, go to sleep

There's nothing more important than getting a good night's sleep. Sleep impacts everything: your appetite, mental functioning, performance in school, etc. The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to get sick which none of us can afford during finals.

9. Your parents might not always understand and that's okay

They might ask why you got a C, why you did not try harder, why you did not do better, etc. But if that is your best and you are happy with it, then that is all that matters. College has changed since our parents went to college, and if they did not go then it makes it even harder for them to understand how difficult it can be. Parents just do not get it sometimes, and while that can be difficult, it is okay.

10. You success is not relative to the success of those around you

If you get a B on a test and someone else gets an A, that does not make them better than you or even necessarily smarter than you. Maybe last time, you got a D on the test and this is drastic improvement for you. That is success. It is not diminished because someone else got a higher grade.

11. Small victories are still victories

Take tasks one at a time. Even if it is just finishing one question in a review packet, it's more than you had done before. Small accomplishments eventually build up to a big one. Take it in strides.

12. You will get through this

Finals will end eventually. You will get through all the tests and papers. You have survived 100% of your worst days so far. You got this.

13. It's okay to cry when it is over.

You gotta get yourself through finals, but once they are over, all bets are off. That head cold that you've felt coming on for weeks? Let it contaminate you. The crying that you've only let slip out a little? Let it all out; sob like a baby. Have an emotional breakdown; let yourself feel everything you've held bottled up during finals. You worked hard; you deserve to let yourself feel.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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I'm About To Burst, Laughing At The People Who Thought My Pregnancy Meant I Had To Drop Out Of College

I get stared at in the halls and asked if I am going to drop out. Here are ways being a pregnant student has changed my college experience.

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I have been pregnant the entire time that I have been in graduate school. It was not how I planned to experience grad school, but it has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective and will give me a lovely son (seriously, any second now). There are certain things that I did not realize about being a pregnant student until I experienced it, and maybe my experiences can help better prepare other women, or give them something to relate to since pregnant students are such a rare breed.

As a grad student and a 25-year-old, I am around the average age to have my first child in America. I am not dependent on my parents and the world does not treat me like a child anymore.

However, since I decided to pursue my master's degree, I feel that people are not used to seeing pregnant and student in the same sentence without gasping.

When I first told my father, his first reaction was to ask me if I was to going to drop out.

This became a recurrent reaction from my family and friends (which my boyfriend who is also a student was never asked once). I did not expect the hesitant reactions and it made me feel shameful to be a pregnant student. As my expecting belly grew I always noticed that people on campus would stare at my stomach.

As I walked past, their eyes followed my belly like I had a giant red felt "A" on my chest.

None of my classmates are pregnant and thinking back, I can't remember ever seeing a pregnant woman in all of my five years of college. Since none of my classmates were pregnant, I felt like I had no one to relate to. There are a lot of things that pregnancy effects, besides the baby in the tummy part. I could not go out and get drinks with my classmates and bond with them the way that they were all doing. I could not relate to them fashionably because maternity clothes are heinous. I also feel like pregnancy put up a barrier because I would have a baby eventually and will always be busy, so why bother?

Pregnancy side effects would sometimes take a toll on my school work. In the first trimester, I could barely get out of bed because I was so tired. I could easily have slept 14 hours straight and being a working student did not help. I would seep through some of my classes and had to take the hit to my attendance points. I also have "pregnancy brain." Pregnancy brain is a real thing and is not well known enough. My mind can be so scattered that I forget my friend's names while I am speaking to them. I think it is October when it is March. Pregnancy brain has made me forget that I even go to school or that I work in twenty minutes. I missed due dates or completely misread instructions on assignments. For someone who needs A's on every assignment to function, it hurt because I would never make that mistake otherwise.

There are also benefits to being a pregnant student. I am never hungover and I have never been tempted to ditch a night class for a drinking holiday.

Pregnancy has allowed me to prioritize my school work and ignore the college lifestyle.

Before I knew I was pregnant, I went with my roommates to bars in Chicago's Lincoln Park. I feel so happy knowing getting wasted from $3 shots on a Wednesday is behind me. I now truly have nothing better to do at night than complete my homework.

Another benefit is that you sometimes get special treatment. The special treatment that pregnant women get is awesome. It is my favorite part and sometimes makes me wish I could be pregnant forever. People feel obligated to wait on me hand and foot. If I drop something, people rush to pick it up. It is completely not necessary but I get to feel like a princess for a day (or 280 days). Even though I was singled out for being the only pregnant woman, I was always treated especially nicely by students and professors.

Regardless of my friends and family expecting me to drop out, I am doing phenomenal in grad school. I have received A's in every class and have loved all of my classes. Being a pregnant student can be tough, but it is totally doable. If you find yourself to be a pregnant student, don't feel discouraged. It is not ruining your college experience but allowing you to do college differently.

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