Keep Your Mental Health in Check- From a Senior in College
I thought I had to have my entire life figured out by 17. Before starting college, it seemed like everyone knew who they were and where they were going in life. I thought I did but had a quick reality check not even a full semester into my freshman year of college.
I always thought I knew my purpose in life and I wanted to be the person that chose their path and stuck with it. I started taking classes for what I thought was my future career right away, and soon realized it was going to be a lot more challenging than intended. Not only that, but I was starting to lose passion for everything I thought I loved doing. When my passion started to fade, my motivation did too, and my grades started to show it. I felt incredibly lost in life and watched some of my friends thrive with what they were doing. Life started to take a toll on my mental health before I had even noticed it.
I have become a lot more aware of mental health since starting college. I learned that I wasn’t even close to the only one struggling with it, almost everyone around me was too. It was an almost comforting experience to know that I wasn’t going through it alone. I started talking to friends who opened up about their struggles. Some chose to start going to on-campus therapy, others started taking exercise classes. I always felt like talking and writing were my greatest outlets.
Suddenly, the future didn’t seem as intimidating. I took a big leap and changed my major (okay, I might’ve changed it 5 times in between) to something I loved doing. I didn’t let the fear of uncertainty hold me back, and I can say with confidence it has paid off. I stopped feeling alone and turned to people who I knew I could talk to, started going for walks and doing yoga. Obviously, not every day is a great day, the world still has bad days and so will you, but everything works out the way it’s supposed to.
I think one of the most important things for students to realize is that you don’t need to have everything figured out, not even after you graduate college. I’m now a senior in college and I can definitely say I don’t have everything figured out. It’s okay to change your mind, whether it be 5 or 20 or 100 times, there’s no limit on the number of possibilities for your future.
It’s also important to take advantage of every opportunity you’re given. That could include an internship, a club, or even just a class, go to everything. I’ve met some of my best friends in my classes, so definitely don’t skip those. Another key thing I’ve learned is to never be afraid to ask for help. No one will laugh at you, everyone wants to help you. It doesn’t matter if you need help with your struggles with mental health or just a homework question, there’s someone who can help you with anything and everything out there.
Lastly, don’t feel alone with your thoughts. College is hard and it might bring out some struggles with mental health, but I can promise you’re not alone. Go to on or off-campus therapy, take a workout class, talk to friends, read, walk, there’s no limit to the number of helpful resources out there.