The moment that it becomes real that you are officially a college student may come when you are shopping for yourself at the grocery store and look down at the cart and all you see is a random assortment of Roman Noodles, Party Pizzas, body wash, an undersized trash can and a home air filter that you will always forget to replace. Perhaps it is when you wake up for the first time on your own accord to go to class and you have this moment when you are walking in the courtyard like, “this is really happening”. Whatever that moment is for you, it is a moment that you will always remember and cherish. Whatever college you are at for whatever major is an exciting time in your life but it can also be a challenging and stressful time.
For many people who struggle with mental illness it is during these years (18-25) that they begin to notice symptoms. Maybe it is when they notice that their once unshakable confidence is beginning to fade into feelings of inferiority, could be that a once responsible individual is now behaving recklessly and impulsively or may even be that the one time popular student now feels alone in a classroom full of students. Regardless of how it may be impacting you specifically the truth of the matter is that you realize that this hurts and you do not feel like your old self.
For most, college comes with a wide array of expectations. Parents may expect that you make straight A’s, friends may expect that you come out with them and stay up until 4 am and you may have several internal expectations for yourself. Then you have the expectations of the college that you will attend your classes and complete all of the work while maintaining a social life and possibly even a job. The job then has its own set of expectations that are separate from everything else. You are literally pulled in multiple directions simultaneously Someone who successfully navigated this time may say, “well this is the real world now”, which is true to some extent but something that you were not mentally prepared for. Society may look at you as an adult, but are you really ready for that? You say, “I just wanted to have fun”.
For those that adjust successfully into college the one thing that they all have in common is support. Support can come from a number of different places. It may come from the tutoring office, a professor, perhaps from other students in class, a study body organization or it may be professional help from outside the college/university. You cannot and should not do it alone so to save yourself the time, energy and stress and do not try. Find support for the areas that you feel are contributing to the stress you’re experiencing and accept it. If the transition is negatively affecting your life and you need professional support, please do not hesitate to contact me, Kyle Sommers, MA, LPC, for a free 20 minute phone consultation at 936-701-6009. College and all that it entails can be a challenge but it is a worthwhile challenge that can be navigated if you seek out and find the right kind of support you need. Good luck and happy studying!