The Reality of The College Blues

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According to USA Today College 49.5%, nearly half, of college students “reported feeling hopeless”. 60.5% “reported feeling lonely” last year. ( Sarah Sabatke). They say that college is suppose to the best time of your life. But sometimes, it can feel like your entire world is quickly falling apart before your eyes. For many people, college hallmarks the beginning of a new and exciting phase where your twelve years of hard work in school pay off and you become the person you’ve alway wanted to be. You meet new best friends, some of which might even be bridesmaids at your wedding or the spouse themself. At least that’s what they tell you all your life. That’s what you believe the moment you hear your name being called on the loud speaker at graduation night. The next four years are going to be the best four years of your life, better than anything you’ve experienced before. Freedom, change, and hope await you.

This can be the case for some people, but it isn’t the reality for everyone all the time. Life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. And when you experience a low in college, especially when you first start out, it can feel like it can never get better. However, pain is temporary and this can be hard to remember in such a new, different, and overwhelming environment. Whether you’re a resident or a commuter, college can feel very lonely. And when times get rough and hectic as they normally do in college, you’re use to confiding in your friends who have seen you at your worst points. But what do you do when these people are all spread out across the country at different colleges and in different time zones? What do you do when even your family is out of reach to talk to? It can feel isolating. It can feel stressful. From managing classwork, making new friends, maintaining old friendships, dating, working, staying on a budget, and making time for sleep, it can be exhausting, frustrating, confusing, and demoralizing. But it does get better. It can only go uphill when you’re at the bottom. Here are some tips for getting through the college blues.

  1. Watch a Feel Good Show on Netflix

This might not seem like productive advice, but sometimes it feels nice to escape from reality for awhile and preoccupy yourself with the drama and excitement of a fictional character's life. I’ve also found that watching shows with strong and powerful protagonists help me channel their headstrong energy when I’m feeling down or insecure. I recommend: Unbreakable: Kimmy Schmidt, Jane the Virgin, New Girl, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and How I Met Your Mother.

     2. Call a Friend from Home/High School or a Family Member Once a Week

Catching up on the phone is such an underrated form of therapy. By creating a special time each week to call up a friend or family member, you can power through the week knowing that once you get through the stress or even while you’re going through it, you have an outlet. You can confide in them and receive more objective advice since they’re far removed from the situations you may find yourself in. Catching up can also help you feel more involved in other people’s lives and vice versa which can help alleviate some of the loneliness.

3. Say What you’re Thankful for

I know this tip is extremely difficult to actually do when you’re feeling glum, but try to list everything you’re thankful for when you start feeling as though nothing is going to improve or get better. It can be as easy and silly as saying what you’re thankful for in that day like, “I’m thankful that the professor let us out early” or “I’m thankful that so and so said hello to me today”. Before you know it, you’ll start listing things that are actually a huge deal like being thankful for clean water or the ability to even come to school at Cal Lutheran.

4. Find an Outlet

This tip takes time, patience, and dedication which is tough, especially when you feel so bad it’s hard enough to go to class. But like calling a loved one once a week, maintaining participation in an on or off campus activity is very cathartic. Personally, I was skeptical with this idea, but my best friend and mom helped me hold myself accountable. I tried my hardest to go to zumba once a week for a school year. Now that school year is almost done and I can honestly say that I am so much more confident in myself and happier because I can rely on that stress-free one hour of pure joy. It is difficult at times, but try to force yourself to go to a club meeting or fitness class regularly or try out a bunch of different things you’ve always loved doing like writing, painting, or running.

5. Make a Counseling Appointment if Needed

Cal Lutheran offers free and confidential counseling if you feel that this is something you need and would like to do. Most people don’t realize this, but many people actually take advantage of this amazing service. There is nothing to be ashamed about. Realizing that you need professional help and then making the decision to do something about it is the bravest thing a person can do.                                                                                               Photo Courtesy of Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/rear-view-of-woman-with-arms-raised-at-beach-during-sunset-320007/