I Took A Semester Off Because Mental Health Is More Important Than College

I Took A Semester Off Because Mental Health Is More Important Than College

Even though I'm not taking classes this semester, I am truly happy with my life — and that's what matters.
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If you told the 17-year-old version of me that I would take a semester off of college, I never would have believed you. I just simply wasn't the type. I was a straight A student in high school, took 5 AP classes (and passed all 5 AP exams), and graduated with honors.

Flash forward to two years later, I've completed four semesters of my Communication undergraduate at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. At Curry, I was a Communication Scholar in an LLC (Living Learning Community) and joined Curry Odyssey as a Contributing Editor. (Since then, I've been promoted to Editor-in-Chief.)

There were some things I loved about Curry.The class sizes were small, and almost every face became familiar within the first year. I formed meaningful connections with professors, classmates, and campus staff.

But I was bullied. Relentlessly. I didn't think bullying existed past high school, but boy, was I wrong. I was bullied worse in college than I ever was before.

I went to my most trusted professors about what I was going through in and outside of class, and in the dorms. I was referred to the dean, but got nowhere.

The way my roommate treated me was the worst of all. It got to the point where she left me a threatening note, and I was forced to move out of our room in the middle of the first semester. She does something threatening, and I have to move out? Yeah, it didn't make sense.

Residence Life insisted that they had no rooms for me to move into, even though I knew for a fact there were designated empty rooms in every residence hall for crisis situations like this. I fought them for four days — until I was finally given keys to an empty room in the same building, but on a different floor. My college best friend, also in my LLC, happily moved in with me so I wouldn't be alone.

Just when it felt like things were coming together, I was ceremoniously, socially rejected from my LLC, my supposed "family" on campus, because I simply didn't fit in.

I thought sophomore year would be easier, but things only got worse. I discovered that my concentration in the Communication major, which was Journalism, was eradicated, and the classes to fulfill that concentration had been removed from the college.

The worse part was, though, this happened BEFORE I entered Curry as a freshman. For two years, I was lied to by the administration, and the same professors I trusted, about a program I thought I was enrolled in, that turned out didn't even exist.

This happened at about the same time that I took my first journalism class, the only one still in existence at Curry, open to anyone to take for 3 credits in Communication. The class was taught by a full-time journalist at the Boston Herald - this was the real deal. And I'm aware it's these types of connections that makes Curry attractive to students focused on getting real-life experience from the post-graduate world.

While I adored my professor, the truths she told about working as a journalist, and the horror stories she shared, completely turned me off to journalism. I realized, more than halfway through my college career (thanks to those AP credits!) that what I thought I wanted to do with my life, wasn't what I wanted to do at all.

That was about the same time when the very best friend who supported me all of freshman year, and stood by me even when no one else did, dumped me as a friend. The same girl who moved in with me freshman year was now moving out less than a year later.

I entered a bit of a mid-college crisis. I considered changing my major, leaving Curry, starting over. My friend group diminished completely, and I spent entire weekends alone. When I was with other people, I felt so unwanted and lonely. It didn't help that in my two years at Curry, I went through my fair share of vicious breakups, but that could have happened anywhere.

I am almost positive that the torture I endured at Curry was largely specific to the place, because anyone I speak to from high school carries no such horror stories from their own colleges. I was often left wondering, "what's wrong with me?"

I spent months weighing the pros and cons of leaving Curry. But after being screwed over by Curry for my housing selection, course selection, and my financial aid, I had finally had enough.

After completing my sophomore year, I moved home, waited to receive my grades, then I officially withdrew from Curry. I got a full-time job that I love. I have a very loving boyfriend and am very happy with our serious relationship. My childhood best friend moved back home. And even though I'm not taking classes this semester, I am truly happy with my life — and that's what matters.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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