Going Through One Of My Worst College Semesters

Going Through One Of My Worst College Semesters

"It will get better. It always does."

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Life isn't easy. Things will happen that will change who you are as a person. Things will happen that will make you grow up quicker than expected. Things will happen that will change your outlook on life. Things will happen that will make you wonder, "Why me?"

In the moment, going through tough times and accepting the reality of things will feel like absolute shit. It feels like your entire world is falling apart or as if nothing is stable or secure.

Fall semester of 2017 was that period for me.

Before the semester started, I had just gotten news that my best friend and her family were going to get deported back to El Salvador. I was devastated by that news. It made me sick just thinking about the fact that Trump decided to turn his back on those who were seeking asylum from their home country. More than that, I never thought that my own best friend would be affected by these policy changes.

All throughout fall semester, I was going through a mentally-draining breakup with my now ex-boyfriend; first boyfriend, first "I love you," first guy I made serious plans of the future with. I shattered when it ended. I didn't know what to do with myself or how to deal with this heartbreak. I completely lost myself and didn't really know who I was without him

And in December, I got one of the worst news of my life. I lost my father to pneumonia.

Words cannot begin to describe the pain and loss I felt. I was devastated, depressed, and furious as to why this had happened to me.

My dad was in India when he got sick. I was in Florida, taking my finals at UF and getting ready for Christmas break. I was unknown to the fact that he was sick. By the time I had found out, it was too late to book a ticket and visit him.

Within three days of finding out, he had passed away.

There's a different kind of pain associated with losing a parent at such a young age. At first, I refused to believe it was true. As time went on, our friends and family members called us left and right to give us their condolences, and reality started to settle in.

Among all of this, I was failing my classes. My GPA had slipped below a certain threshold, so much so, that I got kicked out of the college I was in and had to, abruptly, change my major.

Throughout the entire semester, I never wanted to leave my bed, was constantly crying and didn't have a sense of purpose or saw the 'light at the end of the tunnel.'

It's cliché to say this, but as time went on, things got better.

Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of moments where I broke down crying or couldn't find a way out of my own toxic thoughts but having healthy distractions and doing meaningful work helped me overcome my hardships.

I found ways to distract myself from the pain. I dove into reading, painting, cooking, listening and playing music, working out, hanging out with friends and figuring out my college career.

I relied on my friends and family members to help me brave through the bad times. They reminded me that I wasn't alone on this journey to healing. They reminded me that no matter how bad things got, I will always have their support and love.

A note to anyone who's going through something similar, or feel as though there's no way to recover: It will get better. It always does.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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