7am-The Morning Routine
You wake up knowing that the day is going to be long and dragging. Dreading the idea of going to any of your classes, you consider hitting the snooze option again. But then remembering that your parents are footing the bill, you get up despite your feelings. Everything hurts from the day before when you skipped lunch and dinner then forcing yourself to be in the gym for an hour. But it needed to happen because you don't want to gain the stress weight. Your desk still has your notebook laying there, open and frustrated lines are drawn through some homework problems you were working on. Flipping the notebook over, you proceed to get ready for a shower. While showering you wonder if dropping out would be such a bad idea and ponder the pros and cons of opening up a bar in Peru. Then you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, "Well, that's nothing a little make up can't fix" you think to yourself and start getting dressed. The outfit has to say "I dress like this so you can't see how tired, sad, or stressed out I am. If I look good, everyone will assume everything is fine because I look fine." You pick up your bag and go to your first class.
10:45- Class Thoughts
"What are they talking about?"
"Can the professor please slow down, I can't write and listen that well."
"How do all of these people sitting next to me understand what's happening?"
"I really am stupid."
"Wait, there's an exam next week, didn't we just have one?"
"I feel slower than other people"
"Oh God, there was homework?"
"Ok, well at least I understood the end slide"
"Is it too late to become a Philosophy major?"
"What do they mean this class is two semesters?"
You sit with friends for lunch and they talk excitedly about the small things you have begun not to notice. Someone running across campus late to class, a lecture in chapel that really hit home for them, someone's outfit that strikes an odd resemblance to the character "Arthur." They ask you how your day is going, you say:
"Honestly, it could be better."
"You said that yesterday."
"And it hasn't gotten much better so I'll keep saying that until it does."
They tell you that you need to get out more, join a club, get involved, come to movie night and just relax.
You want to. You really do. But what if you fall behind on an assignment or forget about an exam? That can't happen.
You retreat to your room after some social time with in your friends dorm and start to catch up on some homework. Then your roommate comes in and asks how your day went. You feel safe enough to admit that you are struggling. Then, they say the best thing you have heard all week:
"Everyone puts on a mask, some don't want you to know what's going on, but believe me, everyone does not know what they are doing. It may seem like they have everything together but everyone has a struggle and a weakness. Sometimes those masks ruin our ability to see that we are all in the same boat."
Sometimes, it would be really nice to have everyone take off their masks and just be real with each other when we live in a world where our stats are more important than how we are feeling. So if you feel like you're struggling don't mask it. Show it and seek out people to talk to. Odds are, there is someone else looking for an opportunity to take off their mask as well.