It is no surprise that college is on a whole other wavelength of difficulty in contrast to high school. Nonetheless, nothing can prepare you for the mental and physical exhaustion of starting to plan to the rest of your life, especially during this time of year. It’s midterm season, and most of us are running off of inordinate amounts of caffeine, studying night after night to at least do decent, and attempting to get eight hours of sleep in three.
I’m definitely at that point in the semester, and it really does take a toll on your mental health. People say “C’s get degrees,” but this isn’t exactly true if you plan on pursuing your education beyond your undergrad years. I feel exhausted because trying to keep my grades at a certain level throughout the entire semester isn’t like jogging a marathon — it’s like sprinting one.
But I’ve somehow managed to keep my head above water. By that, I mean I’m not feeling overwhelming bouts of anxiety and sadness. It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s because I can’t help but love what I’m learning.
I’m a History major with a minor in International Studies, and I’m considering turning that minor into a double major. As a sophomore, I’m taking mostly higher division classes that are more relevant to what I want to do with my life. I’m absolutely fulfilled because I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do for my entire life, which is learning about history and putting it into different contexts.
This year specifically has really put into perspective what I’m truly getting out of my education, and what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life. I’m finally discussing my plans to study abroad next year, I’m writing articles about what matters to me, and even though some of the classes I’m taking absolutely exhaust me with the volume of work, I feel like I’m learning things that will actually be applicable in my career..
I feel this way because I’m not studying something I hate, I’m studying something that I’m passionate about. If I had any advice to give to college students, it would be exactly that. I know sometimes it seems like we don’t have a lot of choices in life, and we end up taking the most practical route rather than the one that actually peaks our interest.
Maybe you’re studying something because you don’t want to disappoint your family. Maybe it’s because you’re uncertain you can handle the workload of a different major, or you’re fearing failure. But you can’t let your life be your “plan B,” because no one wants to spend the rest of their time on Earth doing something they hate.
You can still play to your strengths while doing something you enjoy, so if you’re concerned about not finding employment after finishing school, know that it will be difficult no matter what angle you take.
The only other thing I can say is that you have to be willing to work hard. But in my eyes, pursuing your dreams doesn’t have to be easy — it just has to be possible. I hope you can look at it from that view, too.