So far, college has been undoubtedly the best two years I’ve spent on Earth. Even through COVID, I’ve had the time of my life, and I’m sure there are many of you reading that are highly anticipating getting to school to begin your freshman year and what will be the start of the best times you’ll have. I was the exact same way. Sure, I was begging for a longer summer after my senior year to have more time with my boys at home, but ultimately, the second I arrived on campus I was ecstatic to begin college life. If you’re currently getting ready to go into your freshman year, be excited. It’s going to be awesome.
Like I said, I wouldn’t trade the two years I’ve had so far in college for anything, but I’d be lying if I said that everything has been easy. No matter how ready you think you are for college, it’s going to be an adjustment in one way or another. Some people will deal with it a lot better than others, but if you’re like I am, there are going to be some moments where you really start to struggle.
For me, the issues started in the second semester. After everything stopped being new and I really felt settled in, things really started to get tough. It came out of what seemed like nowhere. All of a sudden, I couldn’t bring myself to get up in the morning for class, and when I was able to go, all I could think about was getting back to my room where I could turn my brain off by sleeping for the rest of the day. It became almost impossible for me to get any work or studying done because the second I sat down at my desk, my brain wouldn’t let me focus. The only thing I could do was hope for whatever was going on to stop. After a first semester that gave me some of the best friends I’ve ever had, days nights and nights like this started to make me question if I should stay. And it only happened more and more frequently. The only thing that brought me any joy were the weekend nights where I could always find away to feel like I was doing okay. But when I woke up the next morning with a pounding headache and the fears that everyone around me would prefer that I just stay out of the way, I brought out the transfer applications. For about a month, I was stuck in that cycle, and to put it simply: it fucking sucked. It sucked really fucking bad.
Now, I hope that all of you are able to adjust to college in a way that doesn’t put you through that, but the reality is that some of you are going to have a similar experience. If that does happen, don’t wait around for a month for things to get better like I did. You’ve got a ton of options for directions to turn to try and make things better.
First, turn to the people that you can talk to. For me, it was my boys from home. Regardless of whether they’re ten minutes or ten hours away, getting shit out in the open to people that you trust can make a world of difference. So, talk to your parents, siblings, friends – whomever is going to just listen and be there for you.
Next, talk to the kids that you’re friends with at school. This is something I wish I would’ve done. Hearing from the guys close to you that they want you around and that they have fun with you is something that can really kick you back into feeling like yourself.
There might be some of you, though, that no matter how much talking about it you do, nothing seems to change. That’s where I was, and I thankfully worked up the nerve to call my school’s counseling center. No matter what college you’re going to, they will have a counseling center of some kind, and you should be fully okay with using it. Fuck whatever is telling you that it’s soft to go there. After two weeks of meeting with the counselors and a doctor, I had been given great ways to deal with anxiety attacks when they came and medication to fix whatever chemical imbalance is in my head. It didn’t become perfect by any means, but it got better with each day.
I guess the bottom line of what I’m saying here is that college is awesome, but it also isn’t easy because it’s a huge difference from your entire life up to that point. Go in ready to have fun, but also keep in mind that there are going to be many people that struggle in that first year. Maybe it won’t be you, but it might be one of your friends. If it is you, remember that there’s a lot of ways to deal with it, and it all begins with talking to people you trust. If it’s not, keep an eye on your boy who seems like he might be struggling because being there for him could be exactly what he needs. Good luck, fellas.