My skin is breaking out. Finals are coming up, and I’m stressed beyond what I ever expected to be. All my friends are busy, so I have no one to hang out with. I’m in awful shape, and I’ve been eating so poorly. I’ve been sitting in bed for the past four hours doing nothing but watching Netflix and scrolling through social media. Mentally, I am doing worse than I ever have since arriving on campus for my first semester of college, and I just feel like sitting down and crying.
College is hard, and I think we all know that. Not just in an academic setting, but also when it comes to your mental health and your social life too. I’ve always been a pretty resilient person; I’ve never actually experienced extreme stress to the point where I feel utterly helpless, but as I’m sitting here writing this, I’m realizing that I’m not as tough as I thought I was. Yes, I am a very sensitive person, but I always thought that I would be able to have everything under control and would be able to manage everything just the way I planned to, but that’s not the case. It’s so far from the case. And it sucks because I was so confident in the way I was going to take care of myself and my studies transitioning into adulthood, that I just feel so let-down and disappointed in myself, bringing me to the verge of tears.
When I was a senior in high school, I mentally made a plan of what my first year at college was going to be like. I was going to have a booming social life - very different to my experiences in high school - and I was going to make tons of new friends. Drawing towards the end of my first semester, I have maybe five friends that I hang out with on a regular basis. I also made sure that I was going to get As in all of my courses, continuing my streak that I had in high school. So far I’m doing well in that area, but college courses are very different from high school ones; the workload is bigger and much more challenging, so I’ve had to work harder for those As. I also decided I was going to be the perfect adult, and that I was going to learn to take care of myself; cook meals, exercise, take on adult responsibilities and be able to do all that effortlessly. In hindsight, that is a big expectation that was honestly pretty unrealistic for me to think of, but yeah, if you haven’t guessed already, that isn’t working out that great for me either.
But now I’m realizing that this transition is going to take time; it’s not going to happen overnight. I’m having one of the worst days of my life right now, and it’s mostly because I’m not living up to the expectations I set for myself a year ago, but that’s not my fault. COVID-19, schoolwork, time-management… they are all reasons why this semester has been so difficult for me, so I’m learning not to blame myself for what my brain is trying to tell me are “failures” of mine and am instead trying to be more patient and optimistic with myself.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can have the thickest skin; you can be the most resilient person in the world, and you’re still going to have a bad day. Your brain is going to convince you that you’re not good enough, that no one likes you, that you’re going to fail… and it’s going to hurt and put a toll on your mental health. But I think that if you are patient and you are kind to yourself and you take the time to focus on yourself and your wellbeing… eventually you’re bound to feel better. I hope that’s the case for me.
I think I’m going to do a face mask tonight. Maybe do some meditation or yoga or FaceTime my friends from back home. Maybe I’ll just sit down with some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and have a good cry. I don’t know how or when I’m going to get over this period of stress and extreme anxiousness I’m going through right now, but I’m going to do my best at trying to ease my mind and to draw attention away from all the things that are worrying and saddening me. This dark cloud around my head isn’t going to disappear on its own. Or maybe it will, I don’t know. But I refuse to sit here and sulk in my own misery. I only have a couple more weeks until the end of my first semester at college, and I won’t let it end on a bad note. I am optimistic for my next few years at college, and I know that despite the bad days, these are going to be the best four years of my life, and I can’t wait to experience them. I’m going to be just fine.