What I Can Control

September 23rd was a horrible day for me. A lot was going on this weekend, and I let myself get incredibly overwhelmed. It was family weekend, so obviously the best part was that I got to see my parents and little brother, but not even that could fix my mood.

As much as I love college, I am struggling. It's been an eventful four weeks and I’ve been dealing with a traumatic situation that is incredibly scary and upsetting. The past couple days, I've let stress take over my life and have worried over a long list of things I have to do. My emotions were a rollercoaster that came to a head this morning, when I woke up feeling very sick. It was almost as if I had manifested my emotional stress into physical symptoms of sickness. Needless to say, I didn't get very much done the first part of the day.

After saying goodbye to my family, I crawled back into bed and stayed there for many hours, willing my headache and sore throat to go away magically. I had no motivation to tackle my mountain of homework, which only stressed me out more. It’s an endless cycle of pressure and anxiety. On top of all this, I’m not doing well in two of my five classes which has caused me to question my worth and whether I deserve to be at UNC. In high school, I definitely challenged myself and took rigorous courses, but I always succeeded after putting in the work. Now, I’m putting in the work, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I don’t know how to deal with that.

I took three naps today in between struggling to do my homework efficiently and accurately. When I woke up from the third one around seven, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this day be a waste. I had many things to worry about, but all I can do is complete them one at a time and keep going. I made a list of things I could do to make my day better, things that I can control. I did my laundry, washed my dishes, took out the trash and the recycling and made my bed. Accomplishing those tasks made me feel so much better because I was being productive, even in the most inconsequential ways. After completing these mundane, household tasks, I felt more prepared to study and finish my homework. I had a great talk with one of my suitemates and close friends who reminded me that if I didn’t deserve to be at UNC, I wouldn’t be here. It sounds so logical and simple, but I really needed to hear her say that and be validated.

The next time college is stressing you out and getting you down, make a list of the things you can control and things you can do that day. Finishing a task is incredibly rewarding and is beneficial for your mental health. Take some deep breaths, count to ten, and cross the items off your list as you complete them. Remember, there’s no use worrying about things you can’t control. I still struggle with this concept, but I’m slowly learning to focus on what I have power and say over, what is in my control.