If going to college was easy, everyone would be enrolled and following their dreams. If going to college with anxiety was easy, I would probably still be on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College, basking in the views of the Hudson Valley in the fall. The thing is, nothing worth having in life is an easy task to achieve. That's why not everyone is college and that's why I'm not in New York living what I thought would be my dream.
Am I anxiety free in my dorm at Southern Connecticut State? Absolutely not. Nothing about going away to college is easy or anxiety free. Everyone tells you that you'll get used to it, but no one knows what to tell the kid who has anxiety and is too afraid to leave the state.
When you have anxiety in college, everyone says it's okay to get help. You have to go get the help yourself. You have to advocate for yourself and speak up, one of the scariest things to do when you're so used to having someone else do it for you.
The lack of sleep drives you crazy. If you nap, you won't fall asleep later at night, but coffee doesn't keep you up and you're just so tired. You're tired from everything and you just want to be back to where you were when you were once happy.
No one will tell you how many times is a normal time to call home and beg your mom to let you just live at home and commute. If you call six times a week is that too much? If you don't call at home, will everyone forget who you are and move on with life?
No one tells you that your nails will be bitten down till they're almost non-existent. It'll hurt to write and shower, but you have to write and shower. You have to keep going. If you stop you'll fall behind. Once you fall behind, you won't be able to catch up and you might as well drop out of college.
If you lose someone who you cherished, the professors will care, but life goes on. You have time to grieve between the essays and midterms and projects, but not enough time to cope and accept. Figure out the time, and when you do, tell me when the best time to let it all out.
When you have anxiety in college, being alone is terrifying. Everyone and I mean everyone has a friend to sit with and doesn't go to the dining hall alone. When you sit in the dining hall by yourself and catch the gaze of another student, you instantly think "they think I'm a loser because I'm alone." The food in front of you is less appetizing than when you first slopped it onto your plate. You want to curl into a ball and pretend like you're invisible because you won't get the stares. The stares that mean absolutely nothing, but you gave them the power to mean something.
When you have anxiety in college, going to class is a feat that should deserve an Olympic gold medal. Talking to a professor can be fear-inducing. Exams are something to dread and prepare you to accept failure.
When you have anxiety in college, you are in control of what you can and can't do.
You have the choice to leave a school if it isn't the right fit. You may regret the choice you make until the day you die, but you knew what you had to do to make sure your mental health came first.
You may not want to go to class and talk in front of countless faces who won't remember your name. Yet when you go up there and crush that presentation, you feel amazing. You are amazing.
When you're a ball of anxiety, tension, and fear, but you chose to stand in front of a sorority or fraternity with forty members, and you get a bid, remember that you did that. You are strong enough to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone. You are enough.
When you pass the test that you swore on your life you'd fail, remember that you are the one who chose to study and at least try, instead of doing nothing. You are intelligent.
If your aunt passes away and it feels like your world is crumbling, remember that the sun will rise again and so will you. Take her memory and carry it on as you make her proud academically, socially and personally. You will survive.
When you remember to take your medicine, complete your assignments on time, get your laundry done and bed made, celebrate. You are making progress. No matter the speed, forward is forward. You will get there. I believe in you.
If you have anxiety and you're in college and you made it this far, I am so proud of you. Yes, you have friends, family, counselors, and professors helping you, but ultimately, you got yourself to this point. You've made the decision to go on and I am so proud of you. You will get there. Some days are harder than others. Some weeks feel like hell and others you will coast through.
Calling home is okay, and they won't forget about you. Your mom wants to be annoyed. Your sister misses your constant nagging. Your dad is lonely without someone to argue about Trump with. Your family won't forget about you. You are unforgettable.
Believe me, when I say this, you will get through this. This too shall pass. Trust me, because I'm in the same position.