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How I Overcame First Year College Struggles

Like most seniors in high school, I was over the moon to start college. I wanted to be by myself, away from my hometown. I wanted to live the typical college life of partying every weekend, meeting awesome people, getting involved, all of it. But little did I realize how much I would struggle the first year. 

Welcome week my freshman year was a blast. I got to interact with a lot of people on my floor; I was ecstatic to further get to know more people and develop a large circle of people I could count on and hang out with. It was going really well for me, but then the stress of classes hit. I was taking all of the “pre-med” classes, since I really didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do in the health field yet, and I settled on a general health sciences major. The first week was a breeze, and I thought “wow, I totally got this!” ……. Oh dear. Classes started picking up, and I realized that I had NO idea how to keep up with everything. I had no clue how to actually effectively study. As you could imagine, my first tests went horrendously. I had no idea what to do. I started getting more and more anxious every time I went to class and had no idea what was going on. I kept thinking “I have no idea what’s happening, but I do know that if this is what being in the health field is like, I want NO part of it.”

I began thinking of other majors, and settled on health management for 2 semesters. I felt like I finally figured it out, and I could relax. Nope. I realized that in the future I would have to be taking classes that included the words “statistics” or “finance” or “business” or “planning,” and it kind of made me want to vomit.

I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, not only in school. I also felt super self-conscious about myself, anxious about almost everything, and felt like I was alone. Doing badly in school and hating my major really took a toll on my self-esteem (and on my GPA, naturally). At this point, it was time to try looking for a new major. As a sophomore. Scary stuff in my opinion.

I started from scratch, trying to find out what I was truly interested in and passionate about. I realized that since the end of high school, I had started making more of a point to make healthy food choices and that I LOVED the concept of learning about how food works in the body; plus, I was always giving family and friends advice on good healthy food I had found recipes for. And there you have it! I finally decided on majoring in nutrition, and that’s where I am now. That being said, I still struggle with organic chemistry and all those super science-y classes, but since I have a desire to succeed in this field and I am taking classes that ACTUALLY interest me, putting in the work and navigating my study habits is 100% worth it.

When I found my major, everything else fell into place too. I am a better me, I am more confident, and I definitely don’t feel alone. I don’t feel totally lost anymore. The point of this article is not to tell you how great my life is or to make my readers feel bad for Past Me. I just know that when I felt lost and like a failure, reading the stories and hearing the experiences of other people who were in my exact situation and came out alive REALLY made me feel better about everything. It’s not a feeling I can really explain effectively in words, but if there is even one person like Past Me, I know you understand what I mean. I hope you come across my story and know that you will find your way through college, even though it seems impossible! You got this, chica :) or chico :) or whoever you may be! 

My name is Monica, and I am a sophomore at SLU studying nutrition and dietetics! I love my dogs and love traveling. So excited to be a part of HC!! <3
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