To the one who is reading this right now, I get it. I get that you're struggling with the idea that you are in the process of transforming into a part of societies working class. I get that you feel the constant weight of trying to be as successful as you can on your shoulders and even your chest. I get the confusing transition from being dependent to independent, and the transition from being completely care free to becoming a mature and responsible adult. I even get the hectic feeling of trying to keep up with your peers and to try and be as great as they are.
College has honestly been one of the most confusing times for me. Over these past few years, I have gone through some of the craziest changes to my mind and my soul. I mean, I came into school a little over 2 years ago thinking that I was going to be researching some of the worlds most deadliest diseases, to now going into things like web design, computers, and the hope to bring technology to underprivileged areas. Honestly, it does overwhelm me to think how my mind and heart could completely change tracks.
I feel that no one really understands the stress, confusion, excitement, and even fear that college students have to deal with unless they go to college themselves. I mean, college can definitely be such a rewarding experience. Not only are your interests explored, but you get to take classes that hopefully focus on what you want to do for the rest of your life. Also, you get the opportunity to meet people you would not have ever expected to meet. You'd get the freedom of being by yourself (depending on if you move away for college or not) and you get to make your own decisions, and you get to control your life. You'd think this all sounds like paradise right?
As much as this experience can be enjoyable, it can also become stressful, confusing, and even scary sometimes. I'm going to be mostly speaking from my personal experience, but I know that there are others who have felt the same. I have personally felt a lot of pressure being in college, and I know it's pretty expected, but honestly until you get to college you have no idea how high the pressure can be. There's just so much pressure to do well all the time, and to constantly get good grades and to study all of the material to the point where your brain feels like it's going to explode. There's pressure to get jobs, internships, and other things that will help you in life. There's even the pressure of getting a good job outside of college. Don't forget the societal pressures too of feeling like you fit in. I know that "fitting in" sounds like a high school thing, and it is. But in a way, you still feel like you want to belong when your in college too. There can be the pressure of going out all the time and trying things that you may have never tried before. Honestly, all of that pressure adds up over time, and it can become overwhelming to the point that you can barely even think anymore.
Also, this time of your life can be seriously confusing. Sometimes you want to go out with your friends and have a drink and other times you just want to put on pajamas and binge watch a show for the millionth time in bed. There are times where you find yourself stuffing your face with 10 chocolate chip cookies and you have absolutely no idea why. There are days where your so happy to be away from home and other days where you'd do anything to physically hug your mom again. College can be such a confusing time because you feel like your in between wanting to be an independent adult and wanting to be a baby and be taken care of again. You feel a constant wide range of emotions both positive and negative all of the time and it gets to a point where you don't know how to feel anymore or even what to do with your life.
College has also made me feel anxious about my future. I find myself constantly asking myself things like:
am I really doing good enough in all of my classes?
Am I doing the right thing in my life right now?
Do people like me?
What if even after all of this work, I don't find a job outside of school?
Will I go into major debt?
What if I'm just setting myself up to fail?
It's definitely not limited to just these questions. All of these thoughts can become really anxiety-inducing, and it does get to a point where it can become hard to control. Then you just end up spiraling out of control and have a mental breakdown.
In my experience, all of these feelings along with other things outside of school can run you down to a point where you just feel tired and burned out. Sometimes, we have to balance work, school, social life, and our own personal struggles all at once, and it can be a lot for one person to handle. It's a tough feeling to go through, and it's something you don't want to experience during a time where you need to perform at your best. However, you can do something about it. Here's a few things I've been slowly learning to do.
Take care of yourself. you wanna feel your best to do your best, so remembering to get enough sleep, rest when you need too, and not overexert yourself is important. Also just doing healthy activities is good too. Take care of yourself both physically and mentally
Slow yourself down. Life is not a race, and it should not matter when you get things done compared to others. Whether it be graduating, getting a job, or even getting into a relationship. These things take a different amount of time for everyone, so it's okay to just slow down and take a breather every here and there.
Do what you love and love what you do. Take time out of your day to do the things that you enjoy, or better yet find something new to enjoy. Read a book, watch a movie, go shopping, give yourself a self care night, literally whatever you want. Also, don't be afraid to try new activities or to join a group that you're interested in.
Reach out to others. Trust me, you are not alone in these feelings, and you should not have to be. Talk to the people you love and care about (and who love and care about you).
Finally, accept these feelings and let yourself experience them naturally. As much as it may not seem like it, it's okay to go through rough patches in this time of your life. Unfortunately, life isn't always made to make sense, and sometimes that's a good thing. Allow yourself to feel any emotion your feeling, and don't try to rush yourself to make things better. It takes time but everything will feel better at some point.
At the end of the day, you're doing your best and that's all that matters. So please, go ahead and take a huge deep breath right now. You are your own you and you will get through college and accomplish things in life, no matter what the experience throws at you.
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