From Terrible to Triumphant: A First-Year Story

My move to college life was tricky. I was filled with so much excitement as this new chapter began, but with so much anxiety as well. Making this huge step to be on my own was scary. I was met with so many worries: Would I make friends? Can I handle being alone? Will I enjoy my classes? Can I do this? Answers didn’t come so quickly, but you know what did? My depression.

We all know our deepest secrets, our pet peeves, our quirky habits. We also know our triggers and battles. I know mine too, but as a new stages of life approach, we can quickly become distracted. We throw all our energy into becoming independent, meeting new people, developing relationships. As a freshman that’s what I did as well. While I was forming relationships with those around me, I disregarded the one I had with myself. Late nights of laughs and discussions led to mornings of rushed homework and forgotten textbooks. Nights out on the town making memories led to thoughts of anxiety of upcoming deadlines. It’s hard to prioritize meeting new friends and schoolwork, but if you aren’t too careful you will forget to make your mental health a priority as well.

As an incoming freshman I didn’t adjust well. The workload of college caught me off guard, I had to learn to study and manage my time. I also had never been alone. Growing up with a twin sister and a super close-knit family, I had always had someone by my side. Someone to lean on. But living in college alone, I had to lean on myself. And sometimes that wasn’t possible.

I met a few amazing friends that I still have to this day. They always were there to talk, but I felt so alone. The stress and pressure of expectations began to pile up, and in response I isolated myself. I slept through classes, ignored texts from friends, watched The Office instead of doing assignments. I began to spiral. It wasn’t until I saw a flyer for Mental Health Month that I began to self-assess. What am I feeling? Why do I feel this way? Am I depressed? Do I need help? And yes, I needed help.

College can be hard. It can be stressful. It can feel overwhelming, the amount of expectation placed upon you, and you can’t handle it on your own. You must talk to someone. Keeping it inside and hiding it from yourself only causes more harm. I encourage you to seek help. Seek a trusted friend to be vulnerable with. Look into your university’s counseling services. UNCG offers a great team of well-trained professional counselors at the Counseling Center in the Student Health Center.

The moral of this story is to know yourself and to seek help when you feel like everything is too much. You are a strong and beautiful human! Seek those that want to help you! Strength is shown when you reach out to help yourself. You can do this. Breathe in, breathe out and take the first step.