When College Isn’t Awesome

by xoJane

It’s that blessed time of year when fresh-faced, dewy-eyed, sweet-voiced little munchkins head off to college for the very first time. Shower shoes and plastic caddies in tow, they lug big suitcases full of clothes and high school memorabilia (Yearbooks! Championship ribbons! Teddy bears from hometown boyfriends!) up into poorly ventilated dorm rooms, meeting roommates and RAs and professors and future lovaaahz and potential new BFFs in a whirl of orientation activities. Many of them have been indoctrinated with the message that college is the BEST time of anyone’s life, the period when you have the most fun of all –- whether your definition of “fun” equals marathon bouts of studying, sex or Quidditch (or all three).

But what happens when college isn’t awesome? What happens when a student finds herself facing the darkest part of her life instead of the lightest and brightest?

I think about that a lot.

I think about it a lot because it was my experience the first time I tried college, an experience I chronicled in my book “Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom.” And I think about it a lot because I travel frequently to speak to college students about what to do when college doesn’t turn out the way movies and TV and your parents and high school teachers tell you it will.

According to the 2011 American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA), 38.7% of male college students surveyed and 55.9% of female students surveyed had felt “overwhelming anxiety” within the previous 12 months. 25.9% of males and 33.1% of females had felt “so depressed it was difficult to function.” And 6.7% of males and 7.1% of females had seriously considered suicide.

I’m honestly surprised that last pair of numbers isn’t higher.

I got lucky, in a sense, that my struggle with agoraphobia and suicidal depression didn’t hit its lowest point until my junior year at Emerson College in Boston, when I’d had time to cement friendships that would prove to be of invaluable assistance during that time. Two of my friends were instrumental in identifying that I was in crisis and contacting my parents for more help. I didn’t eat much. I slept up to 20 hours a day. I thought nearly constantly of killing myself. I stopped showering, dressing and going out of the house. I mostly confined myself to my bedroom. (It wasn’t the most glamorous period of my life, but it was certainly the most pungent).

Now, I don’t mean to underestimate college’s potential for sheer awesomeness. For me, it was a real “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” type of experience (although I’m pretty sure I only pretended to read “A Tale of Two Cities” for Great Western European Literature or Stuff Dead White Men Wrote or whatever class it was). I learned a lot, I wrote a lot, and I fell in looooove a lot. I also clocked 6 years at a grand total of five schools before I finished.

After my nervous breakdown at the age of 21, I relied on a combination of medication, therapy, family support and mindfulness training (especially breathing techniques) to help me heal. By the time I got my diploma when I was 24, I was in a much better state of mind. But it had been a greater struggle than I ever could have imagined when I was a hopeful, excited, 18-year-old incoming freshman.

While reflecting on my less-than-picture-perfect college adventure, I asked other folks to share their own stories of college-era emotional and psychological struggles. My hope is that some suffering student will see this post and feel less alone. Maybe she or he will even be more inclined to reach out to the student counseling center, friends, or other resources for help. Or maybe she or he will just feel less like a freak for wanting to stay in bed and cry while seemingly everyone else excitedly skips off to the football game.

“I remember bits and pieces of college. That’s all. I was overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, afraid to leave my room, afraid to go to class, staying awake sometimes for days at a time and then sleeping for even longer. I was a terrible student. Got suspended. Got booted. College, to this day, is a source of shame and disappointment for me. It’s something I failed, something I missed a lot of due to my brain and my fears…I have since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, much to no one’s surprise.” – Anonymous

“My first quarter of freshman year was pretty awesome. I came back from winter break re-energized, but three weeks into the quarter, I was totally befuddled by my inability to cope with my class load and hyperactive/overly anxious mind. I could only sleep for 4 or so hours a night before I had early morning awakenings, which felt like waking up into a nightmare. Things felt heavy and interminably so. I felt like I was in a hole that was getting deeper every day.” – Tam, 27, Los Angeles

“The depression really started getting to me in college. Coming back on Sunday after a weekend back home, I would feel the most intense sadness I’d ever felt in my life. I just thought it was part of growing up, and I would have to get over it.” – Sarah, 40, North Carolina

“I was enrolled for the summer semester, and for some reason, while school was going better than it had my first year and a half and I even had friends, I was never happy.  I always felt despondent and on the verge of wanting to hurt myself, but I was too scared to act on it… I started taking the medication…I did notice a definite change in my mood.  I never got deeply sad or despondent anymore.  I didn’t find myself crying in the shower and not knowing the reason why.  But it also made me kind of numb.” – Jennifer, 30, Atlanta

“When I was at NYU, I was extremely depressed for a number of reasons. I was so depressed that I began researching ways to kill myself. I should back up – I still suffer from depression, but I’ve shaken my family’s stigma against mental health professionals. But I was really researching, trying to find an easy painless way to kill myself. About a week into this, NYU suffered from a series of really terrible suicides. And, oddly, my first response was to not understand why. Do the old, ‘How tragic. How senseless.’ At the same exact time of my life when I was considering suicide. And I think that’s the disconnect that makes it difficult in school. You’re in a new environment, going through massive life changes, often in a brand new city. Obviously you’re going to be depressed and scared. But it’s so easy to forget that you’re not the only one.” – Mike, 28, San Francisco

“When I left for school, I was so excited to be in a new place and exploring new possibilities for myself!  I was ready for the challenges that faced me, or so I thought.  What I didn’t plan on was that I would go from being surrounded by family and friends who I loved and who loved me for 18 years to living with one of the only friends I had for miles (I don’t think I would have made it without her) and to have my world devastatingly crushed my second year in with a truly soul-shattering breakup.” – Sabrina, 25, Seattle

“I’d always been an emotional child and just, sort of, sad, but it came to a head once I went to college. My depression links closely to social anxiety so it fed into many of the stressful social experiences that go along with matriculating. This coupled with a difficult roommate situation and a dawning realization that enrolling at a university does not magically remake one’s personality, drove me into a dark place.” – Libby, 31, Long Beach

“My first serious suicidal thought was when I was a freshman in community college. I remember it was a Friday, as that’s generally when it hits hardest. I live far out of town, with no car or job, so I spend 99% of my Friday nights at home alone with my mother. I know friends are there to come get me, but I always feel like a burden. And when I’m alone, specifically at night, I get trapped in my own head…I ended up attempting to write a suicide note. Luckily for me I take too much pride in my work and this was a terrible suicide note, one that would be part of my legacy, and that shit was not happening. Even more luckily, my best friend called me by chance and I just broke down. He got me calm, he got my head on straight. Time went by, and I still had problems with getting really depressed, but nothing that led to a suicidal thought.” – Kevin, 20, Tallahassee

Was your college experience less than ideal? Did you experience severe anxiety, depression, or other psychological problems? Let’s have a chat in the comments about what we went through, how we got through it, and our advice for kids just embarking on their college journey.

 

This post originally appeared on XOJane. Republished with permission. Click here for more Sara on XOJane! 

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    I suffered a nervous break down, chronic insomnia, and severe anxiety for three straight years, leading to crippling depression coming into Year 4. How depressed was I? The only symptom on the check-list that I didn’t experience was suicidal thoughts – I just wanted to sleep forever, not die. I was on antidepressants and having regular psychiatric visits just to get me through the rest of college and eligible for graduation. >_< I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone.

    I wish I could offer tips on how to avoid Four Years in Hades, but I can't – mainly because I still can't believe I survived.

  • SS25

    I’m glad you survived that experience. I think incoming freshman should here stories like yours.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    Thanks. One thing I can say (which, oddly, just came to me) – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, please get help. If one person brushes you off, keep plugging until you find someone who cares about you and will help you get better. I was lucky in that my school’s counsellor really cared, and quickly gave me the referral I needed to get treatment.

  • apple

    college was the worst experience i have had in my life ..well the most continious experience.. i spent all the time studying nonstop just to pass,i had no friends, no life, no breaks, just nonstop studying,driving myself crazy,crying everyday,loosing my mind,getting 3 hours of sleep daily,running from studying to internship to my part time job..because i thought it would be worth it in the end, to graduate on time, get good grades and say i graduated from this top business school…looking back as im unemployed, i was a total waste of time.. i should have popped adderrall and cheated like everyone else who seem to be doing well with their jobs and life..either way i may have still ended up where i am now..no where

  • Downsouth Transplant

    @ apple,i am sending you virtual hugs and will keep you lifted up in my prayers, hung in there it WILL get better xx

  • LaPetite

    I’m going through this topic right now. This is my 2nd year of college

    My freshman year i had disrespectful roommates. I stayed out of the room most of the time to study which then lead to insomnia, and then missed classes.

    I maintained a GPA above a 3.0 and i managed to join an organization on campus. Sometimes i feel like the president doesn’t think we (Executive Board) do enough for the org (we’re a non profit)

    My financial aid/refund check has not come in so every other week my classes are getting dropped for financial reasons ( now i have to go to the deans of each department to get into class). If you’re under a certain age FASFA counts you as a dependent even though i live on my own off campus. My mother hasnt filed her taxes and so that has kept me from being rewarded.

    I’m also here without resources like a car and I have 0.00 dollars to my name.

    I’m sorry about the rant but this is so relate able and I needed to vent because everyone here has their own issues and its hard when you’re independent a lot of the time threw out life and in times like these you can’t even reach out to your mom because she’s sick and has her own issues….

  • http://thexenophilediaries.wordpress.com thexenophilediaries

    I am in college now. This is my senior year. I remember my first semester of college was awesome. Second semeter I didn’t like it as much. I remember I tried to transfer. Sophomore year was a blur, I don’t remember much. For my third year of school (last year), during my first semester I was so depressed. I hated my school. I am from an urban enviornment and my school was in the middle of nowhere. I did not want to do my work or anything. My grades were good (my GPA is a 3.6), so academics was not the problem. The school, just wasn’t the best fit for me. I hated living in dorms and didn’t like the food. Also, I remember feeling dranined. That summer I had an internship and when the job was over I went to school. I didn’t have any downtown. I was always on the go and was not enjoying life. So maybe that’s why I was depressed that semester as well. Spring semester of my junior year I studied abroad. I had the BEST TIME OF MY LIFE. It was awesome. When I came back to school, I actually cried. I was totatlly fine during the summer and during my time abroad. Just the thought of returning to my school made me feel sad. But I am happy to report this year is a lot better. I am living off campus so I have my own bathroom, kitchen, and living; I am pursing my passion of learning a language, and I am involved in several things. I have great roommates and I actually like my classes. So I feel more at peace with my school now. I feel like I did during my first semester of my freshman year.

    So to anyone who is reading this, it will get better. I don’t know when, but don’t stop trying. Take one day at a time. Even if you have to take one minute at a time do so. Find something you are passionate about and pursue it head on. I hope I helped.

  • Kacey

    I know someone who had a nervous breakdown during the first week of college. It took years for her to recover.

    A few weeks ago, here in NYC a college freshman (at Columbia, I think) committed suicide by jumping from one of the buildings a few days before classes started. She was a brilliant girl – her high school’s valedictorian – but she had a history of mental illness and I can only imagine that the stress, anxiety and pressures of beginning college just got to her.

    My own undergrad experience was uneventful. I was an A+ student but little else. I didn’t feel compelled to get involved, I only joined one club (which was associated with my major) and I didn’t party. I don’t regret not “making the most of it” – I got my degree and that’s all I cared about.

    My only advice to a new student is be yourself, don’t succumb to pressure to do what some knuckleheads are doing, and get what you want out of it!

  • Kay

    This article has helped me so much you always hear about the glory days but some people leave out the dark details my junior year I fell into this deep dark place I didn’t go to class and like the author I slept more than I should have I didn’t leave my room I barely ate and the biggest mistake I ever made was I didn’t tell anyone my roommate noticed that I wasnt my usual self but she just asked what was wrong and helped as best as she could Some of It came from doubting myself I felt like I was pursuing the wrong career ( I wanted to apply for pharmacy school) . What helped me the most was talking to myself Soon it felt like I was talking to God I’m in a better place now but This article couldn’t have came a better time…

  • Mina

    I also had a hard time in college too. My freshman year was hell because I had the bitchest roommate ever! I had to switch rooms and still had to deal with drama and instigators in the dorm. Living in an all girls dorm was THE WORST! I had no friends and I was isolated by everyone. I wanted to just get murdered or something because I hated going back to the dorm. Going home every weekend was a pure blessing. I was truly happy and I was always sad going back to school. I hated school and didn’t study. The library and the cafe was too far away so I didn’t eat anything. I lost 40 lbs and survived eating twice a day for breakfast and dinner and I ate just cereal or noodles. I had hot pockets and sandwiches but I didn’t eat.

    People randomly would just call me fake or start fights with me for no reason and I didn’t even know them. They just went along with what my roommate said, I guess. I was also bothered on a daily basis by sex hungry guys on campus who wanted to take you for a ride down the block with their sh*tty cars. Then I had an abusive boyfriend who was also trying to blackmail me into having sex with him. He raped me numerous times and tried to get me kicked out of school by writing a letter to the dorm mother. Luckily it didn’t work and I took him to court but the restraining order never went through because I was scared to tell the judge what happened in a court room full of people. Worst experience of my life. This was at Haley Hall at NC A&T where I vowed I’d never go to another HBCU again in my life!!!

    I transferred over and left the state and lived with my mom while going to a community college for 2 years. (Which I recommend first before going to a 4-year to any freshman. The workload is less intense and no roommate issues). Then I went to a 4 year year college and lived in a dorm/apartment. Thank God that the Lord blessed me with my roomies. They were the best ever and I still talk and chat with them now. They’ve become like my best friends. I also made more dormmate friends too. The dorm/apartment was co-ed and everyone had their own showers, kitchen, etc so there wasn’t a lot of issues.

    But the work was intense especially in my senior year. I found myself staying up 2-3 days straight with only 3-4 hours of sleep. I had a full load so I was taking 20 credit classes to finish up early. I didn’t work or have a car. I developed insomnia and severe itch that comes and goes. I still don’t know what it is but whenever I try to get sleep earlier, my body breaks out in an itching hive and I get little sleep. The only thing that helps is to read/study. The only thing that sort of helped me not get depressed with the heavy workload was partying. I hate drinking alcohol but drinking it and getting loose with my friends helped me unwind a lot. Even if it meant throwing up all I ate that day, it was better than being stressed out and crying from all the crap the teachers put us through.

    Also taking the bus and just going to random places and grocery stores helped me too. I didn’t read any of the reading material. I skimmed through all of it and just found main points and got A’s on it. I basically bs’d my way through. I’d ask other people what they got on the homework and copy stuff down, I’d find summaries online and rephrase it so it wasn’t plagiarism. I’d go to extra credit things to get extra credit. I would go to the tutoring center and get help or ask people there what they got and we would all just work together in study groups. And asking the teacher for the answers helped too. Some were really nice and helped the class out.

    My mom also had to pay out of pocket because my scholarship only lasted for a year and I had grant money but it wasn’t enough. So we had to take out student loans and my loans are $15,000. I’ve graduated but trying to find a job is hard. A bachelor’s degree is the same as an Associate’s degree now, it’s useless. The only way to get decent jobs is with a Master’s/Ph.D and that’s even more money in debt. College isn’t fun. It’s fun to party and meet new people. But the money you put into your education is worthless and the insomnia, depression, etc of college life really isn’t worth it at all! Things need to change ASAP

  • Leabea

    I remember I didn’t even want to go to college right away. I didn’t feel I was mature enough and I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. So I procrastinated and only applied to four schools and ended up at a college in the middle of nowhere. I had great times and not so great times. Like many people commented, I have a lot of social anxiety and tended to become overly attached and dependent on some of the friends I made. It caused a lot of strife and jealousy between my social groups. I fell out with a lot of people because of my own insecurities. Then after two years, I couldn’t stand being six hours away from home so I transferred to a college much closer. It was tough, because there were dorm rooms available for off campus students and it was difficult making new connections. I was miserable the first couple of weeks, but the Lord put me in the right place, because I joined an amazing Christian fellowship with many amazing people and God finally led me to the friends I needed. My GPA greatly improved, compared to my previous college and I graduated with a 3.2.
    My advice to all college students who are feeling a plethora of negative emotions, keep your chin up. :). Going away and leaving behind the familiar is frightening. No one knows you like your parents and friends back home and it’s normal to crave that familiarity and security. However, every experience has the best of times and worst of times. Don’t try and overdue it, just take little baby steps and experience college the way you feel comfortable. To all those in college, I wish you the best and you were already awesome pre college and you’ll be awesome during and post college!!

  • Sweetles

    Stay strong…I really hope things work out for you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nieshag Niesha Gourdine

    I’m not even gonna lie I hate college, I’m in my senior year, and its dreadful waiting to graduate in may.. college is a waste of money and the professors teach like they hate their lives…college sucks.. !!

  • Egypt

    For me, college took some getting use to. As an only child I had never been away from home, longer than two days. I didn’t even know how to do my laundry. lol. I learned eventually (by trial and error) Independence can often be a frightening thing.

    I can totally identify with the mental aspect of college as well. I was constantly anxious, but in the mist of health concerns, I learned so much about myself. I learned to embrace myself (anxiety and all). Although I certainly enjoyed my college years.. I don’t think college is the best of the best, the best is yet to come.

  • elle

    The story of my life. Well my story is a little different! I was in the army for 9 years and after my contract was up, I decided to go to college. I was so excited to go back to school, leave my military behind me and join the civilian world. I was also excited to sit in a classroom with books for a change instead of working in the field. Boy was I wrong! My first semester was very stressful. I felt so alone in school simply because I can’t relate to the younger students who just came out of high school while I’ve worked and trained most of my life in the army. To say it was an eye-opener for me was an understatement. Also I had to deal with rude administrators and professors (not all) who think the military is just a killing machine had me stressed out! Plus dealing with family members who thinks because I served in the military that I’m rolling with money so I should pay the bills in the house when really I’m not. It really affected my school work and my GPA dropped. I was at my wits end at that point; I was depressed and I was even thought of committing suicide. None of my friends nor family understood what I was going through and I felt alone so and desolate. Finally someone at the VA recommended that I go see a therapist. Talking to a therapist helped a lot and I also joined a veterans’ club at my school and I’ve met other vets who went through the same thing so I wasn’t alone after all!! I’m doing better in school and now I’m a junior anxiously waiting to graduate from this hellhole! So ladies who are struggling in college, hang in there and if it becomes too stressful, try a therapist or talk to someone who understand the situation! College can be a great yet stressful event in your life but don’t give up it’s almost over. If I can finish bootcamp, training and deployments, I can definitely finish this hell called college!!

  • Rochelle

    My freshman year I was very dissapointed because I had a falling out with my very best friend in high school and I was looking for new one. I found friends but the were just friends for the season as I don’t know any of them anymore. I did not stay on campus so I didn’t have the “dorm experience” and felt I was missing out. Couple that with a very hostile home environment were my mother and father barely spoke and my mother was taking out her ill feelings about her failed marriage on her children. It was a very very tough time. Not cause of college, but about my home life. Then I transferred schools. I moved a few states away to an all black school. Things were going great but I was broke all the time. There was a time that I actually searched all over my room for money and only came up with 47 cents. LOL. I was panicked. Had to call my unemployed dad (at the time) to send me money asap. Then toward the end of my first semester away from home, I was raped by a stranger on campus. I spun into a deep depression. My dorm room was a mess and my grades dropped. i tried to put the incident behind me but it was hard. I stopped going out partying and kept to myself. I had suicidely thoughts, though I would never go through with them .Ii took a year off and ended up going back to the school I transferred from, BEST decision of my life. I was much more focused and happier because of my boyfriend and therapy. Ended up graduating in a year and a half. Im now a grad student in the same school. I tell students to not think of college as one big party. Dont forget your goal and try to get in and out as soon as possible. Its the best avenue to go.

  • Chrissy

    I’m glad Im not the only one who does not believe college is the best time. I

    But Ive had some good professors.

  • http://melodygordon.wordpress.com melodygordon

    Wow, I used to think it was only me. I honestly didn’t begin to enjoy my *life* (I was the typical high school overachiever, Top 10 in my class, first in my immediate family to graduate from college), until after I got my bachelor’s in the mail and actually held it in my hands. Only about 40% of college was fun to me. The rest was dominated by social bullshit, financial aid drama, unexpected non-credit requirements and time-draining extracurriculars with ego maniacs. You would assume it’s 4-5 years of nothing but parties and pizza. The whole time I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. Even on-campus counseling didn’t really help. If it weren’t for God, I would have probably killed myself. Now that I’m done I’m doing so much better and I just about ROFL when people ask me if I’m going to grad school. Puh-leeze. Undergrad was hell enough. Thank you for writing this!

  • Wills

    I was taught for years that college was the best time of your life full. It was not for me. I attended a Predominately Black, and very large High School in Philadelphia, a very liberal and open-mined City. Then attended a smaller historical Black College in the South. Both were very good schools in terms of academics, activities and professional development. But I was bored off my rocker and did not fit in socially in college at all. The people there were very conservative, lacked alot of worldly experience and I constantly “felt” like an outsider, and at different points was ostracized for being not like the rest of the “yard” . I even suffered though alot of slander, threats and even a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship.

    What I did was after the first semester, after it all dawned on me… I connected with people from home, and we realized alot of us felt the same way, I joined organizations for support, and I did multiple study abroads. I really got down to business, even graduating early. Why not? I wasn’t socializing like that. In the end, high school was my best social time, because the things people normally do for the first time in college, we did at my high school. College was the best time for my academic and professional growth as as it should be. A student must find creative outlets for support, and remember they are there for goals, and positively learn how to manage their emotions.

  • Ash

    I can already relate to your story. I started terminal leave in just enough time to begin this semester at LSU. Even though the age difference between me and the other freshmen is five years, that’s a lot considering I just finished an enlistment (and fully support myself) and they just graduated high school and are dependent on their parents. These kids are so entitled. And yes, even some teachers are rude! I just wish I could find some other older students/vets to befriend to make my experience better, so it’s not just get up, go to school, go home and study, and repeat. I’m just ready to get my degree(s) and leave this stage behind as soon as I can.

  • yabby

    As a college sophomore who’s tuition is past due, I can relate to you, just know that you’re not alone. Stay strong.

  • http://gravatar.com/xdecadent xdecadent

    My college experience was very short. I came from a very small HS (we had a graduating class of 45!) and I went to a huge private college on Long Island, NY. Not only did I have a hard time adjusting to the social scene I struggled academically. I was a pre-med major and was taking a science heavy courseload. Couple that with the fact that I was top of my class in HS and now could barely pass my college courses – Houston, we have a problem. I became very withdrawn and depressed. Would barely leave my room and spent a lot of time sleeping. I ended up flunking out without earning a single credit.

    I owe 10K in student loans and 9K directly to the university for tuition that was not covered by loans/grants/federal aid. Until the 9K is paid off I cannot enroll in any other secondary education institution. So I’m pretty much held hostage by this. I have been working since leaving college but with the cost of living in NYC being as high as it is, I have barely made a dent in my debt. Its almost 8 years later and I feel really trapped. when I left for college at 17 I had no real concept of money and I didnt think that 40K tuition was expensive. I figured thats just what you had to pay to go to school. Everyone always talks about getting an education at any cost, “Everyone has educational debt; they cant take away your knowledge”, and I just think its a crock of shit. Most teenagers probably do not understand how serious college is. If I knew then what I knew now I would have definitely waited to enroll. I’m 26 now and I finally feel like I know what I want to get my degree in. I just wish I didnt have 20K in debt to clear before I was able to get started :(

    I wont lie – I know a degree doesnt validate me but I’d be lying if I said that I dont get down on myself for not having one. I’ve worked in corporate for years and every single supervisor/manager has been shocked when they learn I don’t have my bachelors. Its almost like I’m ‘passing’ for college educated in a world where a HS diploma is only supposed to get you so far.

  • elle

    @ Ash Do they have a veterans’ center in your school? Maybe they can help in some way. In my school (CUNY) there is a even a veterans’ student club and even though I’m anti-social it does help also. Maybe the same can be done in your school.

  • Me

    I don’t think you understand xojane how much this post means to me. It made me catch my breath. I had no idea that other people went through the experiences I went through. My junior was the worst year of my entire life if I had the energy I would have killed myself. I would sleep 20 hours a day, eat rarely, fear going to classes, wouldn’t shower or even leave my room, ignore calls for days, I wouldn’t even cry. There was all this despair inside of me that I couldn’t get out because I felt I made so many mistakes. I pushed away my best friends and hooked up with a guy who turned out to be abusive which only worsened my depression. I was failing school and felt that everyone was my enemy. I felt like a monster. I had to withdraw from that semester or I would have been expelled. After months of therapy and moving back home I came back to my senses but I mean it took MONTHS it was long for me to recover but I’m back in school now feeling confident than I ever have. I still have a year left to finish college but I’m glad I’m where I’m at in life. But I still sometimes feel like ‘WTF was I thinking? Why couldn’t I be normal like everyone else and graduate on time?” So words can’t express how it feels to see that other people have been through this too bc I honestly feel like a reject sometimes. I’m happier everyday and making positive changes but it feels good to know that there are ppl who understand what I went through.

  • http://theaaridan.tumblr.com TheMuseintheMirror

    Dang, ya’ll. I’m so sorry to read about all these terrible situations! I’m a junior at Indiana University and I absolutely love it!

    Since being here, I’ve been a part of a beauty scholarship pageant, met so many great friends (I didn’t fair to well socially in high school), got to go to New York, New Jersey, New Orleans and Tennessee all within my freshman year! My sophomore year was a little rough since I had a dorm room all to myself, since my foreign, international roommate wanted to move in with an old friend (girl was crazy.) I felt lonely. But you know what, I always remained involve in organizations like NABJ, Books & Beyond (a non-profit that works with children and English literacy) and Christian bible studies.

    And guess what you all? This summer, I even got the chance to go to the NABJ National Convention in New Orleans and Rwanda, Africa!!!

    I absolutely loved Africa. I wish I could go back…lol…Anyways, I’m saying all this to say that even though college was/is tough to the best of us, in the end, it was/is all we make of it. : )

    I can only pray that my junior year will be just as great.

  • Jen

    Keep holding on,I’m going to graduate many years later than I’m supposed to,but I’m hoping that the journey is more important then the time that it takes you to get there.At this point,I believe in just being healthy and happy when you get there.

  • UPenn

    As a freshman now in college, I am definitely struggling. I came from a school where I had four great best friends to a school where I no one wants to be my friend out of the 10,000 people here on campus. I’m slowly skipping more and more classes and losing all dive. Most importantly, I’m losing all hope that things are going to change. That new gap freshmen have to make friends is slowly closing and here I am still with absolutely no friends. I spend so much time in my room that my roommate hates me and has convinced my entire hall to shun me. I’ve never felt so loss, so powerless. Every time I feel like it is going to be a good day, it is in fact catastrophically awful which only sends me plummeting. I want it all to end. I want to take the easy way out, but the only thing keeping me going is knowing what my mother sacrificed to get me this Ivy League institution and how disappointed she would feel in herself if I were gone. I’m all she has. I just….need someone to talk to me…to want to be a genuine friend to me.

  • Patty

    I loved this piece, even though I was underwhelmed by my college experience. While I met some wonderful people while attending college, I was just bored most of the time.

    I always had an idealistic view of college growing up. But I quickly discovered that most people just see it as a means to end and aren’t really interesting in exploring new things, confronting the things that they’ve been taught, and actually learning and growing as people.

    I also found it frustrating that I paying $160 a credit hour to be basically have a TA, or Grad Student/Assistant lecture to me almost verbatim from a textbook that I had just spent $100 dollars on. It was maddening and depressing.

  • Gabrielle

    Hey I hope the year ended up well for you. As a fellow Penn student I know how much pressure you can feel to succeed and measure up to all the amazing people around you. This year was particularly difficult for me, but it really does help to have a good support group of people around you. As I told one of my friends who just finished their freshman year at Morehouse, be open to creating bonds with these people you don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard for me, but you have to make an effort to spend time with people you think are interesting and show some kind of interest in your well being. I know it’s a scary new experience, but we all have to figure it out it our own ways particular to ourselves. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to the people at CAPS. Best wishes!

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