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College isn’t Always the Four Best Years of Your Life... but that Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Still Make the Best of It

People tend to say the years you spend in college are the best years of your life, but that’s not always the case for everyone who attends. If your college years aren’t going exactly how you had expected or hoped, you’re not alone, and there’s so much more to life outside of the college experience. 

There’s so much pressure nowadays to go to college and graduate in four years or alternatively, in however many years it takes to complete your degree. It’s definitely an experience I would recommend to everyone and anyone, no matter where you come from or who you are, but that being said, sometimes it’s not meant for a number of people after a year passes or even after two. Sometimes there are people who need to take it slower and graduate later than the class they entered with so that they can prioritize their mental health and wellbeing. I’ve learned to accept that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that occurrence because although this isn’t said enough, we’re all leading our own lives and we don’t owe anyone anything. We only owe it to ourselves to succeed in our own ways and take care of ourselves in the process so that we can all ultimately reach our desired goals in our time. This isn’t selfish, either, because by giving yourself that time to prioritize what’s important and taking care of yourself, you are also taking care of the people you love - which is equally as important.

I have recently taken a break from writing to focus on other priorities, but I have been really missing it. I shut down my blog, temporarily or permanently… if I’m being honest, I’m not sure yet, but only time can tell. I’ve been focusing on the positives in my life, trying to learn to love myself and prioritizing taking care of myself. I’ve been keeping myself busy by filling my time with work and spending time with people I care about. Overall I’ve been doing better mentally, but it’s still not perfect. 

On top of school work, classes, and working thirty or more hours a week, I suffer from numerous mental illnesses that make it hard to keep up with everyone else. I can be hard on myself at times, especially growing up in a household where I was expected to make straight A’s and keep a 3.5 or higher GPA, but that can be impossible when some days I can barely get myself to shower or eat a full meal. I suffer from major depression, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, and possibly fibromyalgia, which has been the most debilitating one as of late.

Fibromyalgia is among some of the most controversial mental illnesses because it’s one that even most professionals still don’t completely understand. It’s characterized by “widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.” Generally, mental illnesses are quite complex and are difficult to understand especially as they evolve over time but also because each individual case can be different. There are countless symptoms that overlap with one another and the same set of symptoms can result in different diagnoses. What’s important to remember, though, is that just because something is hard to understand doesn’t mean it’s insignificant or should be ignored. Every issue is important, and no matter how small or big it is, these symptoms can be debilitating and can affect hundreds to thousands of people, and it needs to be talked about and accepted more.

Truthfully, I’ve been tempted to drop out of school, since I’ve been struggling so much mentally and it’s almost impossible to stay awake without an energy drink and I find it more and more challenging to concentrate in class. However, I’m already almost halfway through and my parents have been supporting me this entire duration so I’ve decided that I don’t want it to all be for nothing. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, though, this has been extremely difficult because I’ve lost the energy and interest to make an effort which hinders my ability to succeed.

I used to think I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, then out of nowhere my brain flipped a switch and everything went dark. I can’t see my future as clearly as I used to anymore, and I don’t even know what to expect in the next week, let alone tell you what my entire future is going to be. However, just because I’m on the verge of dropping out and my disorders are constantly torturing me mentally and physically, it doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying my college experience. Sure, it could be better...but it could always be worse too. 

I have a lot to be grateful for and numerous people and other outlets that offer me love, guidance, and support. I have so many people who care about me and who I love dearly and I meet new people all the time who make my life worth living. I have a bunny who warms my heart and friends who are always down for a fun time. I hope that in two years, or three, I’ll have a degree and hopefully enough money saved to be able to get my own place wherever I want and not have to stress about school. Until then, I’m going to make the best out of my time here, before we all go off and live our own lives post our undergraduate career.

AUTHOR'S END NOTE:

National Suicide 24/7 Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 and you can find the website here.

You are not alone. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out to a trusted adult, hotline, or a professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.