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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

You are not alone

Feeling anxious is common for college students because of exams, busy schedules or just the pressure to know exactly what to do with their lives. I have done a good job, for the majority of my life, with managing different stressors and pressures that I have felt, but that was before I moved to a different state on my own to pursue an education and make a life for myself. 

Living at home, I was in my own little bubble. My parents were the greatest support system I could have ever asked for. They protected me from anything I had to face and helped me conquer the challenges that persisted. I experienced independence when I wanted to, but it was never absolutely necessary, and I knew college would be a whole different ball game. 

When I got to college, I knew my parents were always going to be there for me. I make a point to call them daily to catch them up on how life is going and keep them in the loop. 

I came into college with a set plan. I got accepted as a biology major and quickly realized I was not cut out to go to medical school, so I had to say goodbye to my kindergarten dream of being Dr. Guzman. I was unsure of what I was going to have for dinner, much less what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. 

I had always felt an immense amount of pressure, like many other college students, about having to choose a life path at the ripe age of 18. It was also not helpful that I am a very naturally indecisive person. I then landed on applying to the business school and pursuing a degree in marketing. Instead, the day the application was released, I declared a double major in consumer behavior and marketplace studies and communications. I was convinced that, because I was not in classes that counted toward the core of my degree, I would have to attend classes for longer than I had hoped. 

This is a major damper on my instinctive feeling that I need to be ahead to be on time. I was nervous about graduating “on time” without taking classes consistently through the year and making my schedule bearable with the other things I have going on. It didn’t help that I felt like all of my friends knew exactly what they were doing with their lives—even though that’s so far from reality. 

I felt behind in a race that didn’t even exist, and this mindset led to a constant panic. Whenever someone mentioned a range of topics from “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to “What is your major?” my heart rate quickly rose. I thought that I was going somewhere with no direction of what I was planning on doing and not even knowing if I would do it on time. 

Talking to other friends and counselors helped me realize that I am not behind and I will graduate when I want to. There is no reason to rush the last bit of innocence and lack of adulthood that I am experiencing in my college years. Even if I do not graduate in four years like I’d planned to, I have a multitude of opportunities to do other things I want to do before I walk across the stage. 

The fear of falling behind is not unique to a college setting. Many people have no idea about what they are doing on a daily basis, much less what career they plan on pursuing. I wanted to share a little bit about my experience with this fear because I want to be able to help someone who is going through the same thing know that everything will be okay, and everyone has their own path, so there is no way to be behind—even if it feels like there is. 

Gabby Guzman

Wisconsin '26

Gabby is a current first-year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is majoring in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies and Communications. She is originally from Plymouth, Minnesota, which means she is a die-hard Vikings fan. Her interests include watching sports, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. Gabby is so excited to be welcomed into the Her Campus community and have the opportunity to share her ideas and experiences with everyone!