Reflections On My College Journey

Hey y’all! Welcome back to ADM, I’m really glad I’ve finally gotten some time to sit down and just free flow with you guys. So quick question! Does anyone have those days where it starts off shitty, but then becomes a great day? For me, this past week has been like this. It’s been crazy, busy and all around draining. Today was one of those days where it started out pretty bad, but ended up getting better, despite my being tired haha.

The reason why I ask this question is because I think that this idea can relate to just about anything in life. I mean think about it, we are constantly thinking about what the future holds, but yet we are so fearful to know what lies ahead.

I know that for me, that has been what my life has been like since my depression hit. So, a little storytime!

When I was in my second semester of my senior year-right around this time, actually- I was stressin’ out, hard. I wanted to finish out strong, get straight A’s and enjoy all the end of the year senior festivities.

But I couldn’t.

I had spiraled down a path of negative thinking, stress, and anxiety.  What was the matter with me? I knew exactly where I was going to college in the fall, I secured a roommate for my first year at college, I already knew who I was going to prom with, what my dress would look like, like all of these things I had some sort of knowledge about… But there came a point where I didn’t want to even think about all of that. I wanted to curl up in a ball and just sleep. I became very withdrawn from everyone and thought that I could handle my depression on my own, after all, wasn’t that part of growing up?

Sleepless nights, Little to no appetite, crippling anxiety,  I tried to keep all of it under wraps.

I got help when I needed it (i.e whenever a teacher saw me crying or stressing out over a test and then being recommended to go see the counselor in guidance).

I put on a front, that masked over the massive amounts of anxiety I was feeling, among other things.

I mean I could go on and on about my depression, but the one thing I wanted to point out was that the one thing that was scaring me was the inevitability of the future. How fear completely overshadowed any hope I had in my goals and dreams. This would soon come back to haunt me when I transferred out of this out-of-state college and into a local college: Community College.

To clarify, it wasn’t just about the future that I was afraid of… It was the whole idea behind going from one place where you know where everything is, who your friends are, etc.; to a place where you don’t know where everything is or who your friends are and having to re-learn that, was, in essence, traumatic for me.

Normally, I’m pretty easy going and I accept change as is. But as I said before, my depression changed that for me. It took me a while to be okay with not knowing what the next year would hold.

So when I got to college for the first time, I was pretty excited, I had just came back fresh on my antidepressants and a new outlook on my life. I moved in, everything was seamless, I met my roommate and my mom and I promised each other that day that neither of us would cry after moving me into campus.

I went home every other week to do some laundry and to catch up with my family. I remember having to make the hour drive back to campus on Sunday nights, to make it back in time for mass.

But somewhere along the way, I got homesick. At the time, I didn’t really like how the campus barely had anything to do on the weekends in the spring semester. It was all getting too commonplace for me.

There came a point where I had to make a decision on whether or not I wanted to continue going to school. Going to school out-of-state wasn’t something for me. Looking back on this, I realize that I wasn’t really ready to live on my own. I didn’t know what it was like to work a job, to get a set schedule in place, etc.

I mean, I basically didn’t know any valuable life skills needed to flourish at a school out-of-state. And I found this out the hard way.

My dad had brought up the idea of me going to the local community college and said that I would work AND go to school at the same time. This was something that I never had to worry about because my family impressed upon me the value of an education, “school comes first,” they would say. I was looking forward to starting work that summer in 2016. On top of that, I took 2 summer courses at the college just to get a fresh start: history of photography and an online math course called number systems.

When my history of photography course started, I remember aiming for a high grade in the course. As the summer semester went on, I became more interested in my studies and realized that I didn’t want to work at my part-time job forever. It wasn’t until a relative told me that, “when you work a job, you start to see the value of an education,” and that rang true for me.

The week before fall semester started up, I quit my job. The schedule wasn’t what I requested and I was just disillusioned with the place as a whole. But luckily this meant that I could focus more on my studies and achieve my academic goals here at the college.

There came a point where I got depressed… again. I tried to avoid it, but it came back. I was getting flustered because everything that I was seeing in my reality was completely distorted. The sleepless nights started up, the skipping meals, the stress. My family helped me get back on the horse, so to speak, and got me to naturally let go of my depression. I went to the gym, scheduled, made to-do lists, went to the library, I did basically anything and everything that could take my mind off my anxious mind.

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I ended up passing the semester with 2 b’s and an A. Because of my hard work, I was able to get inducted into the honor society for business and related majors, which was an amazing first step in my success. I went on to get dean’s list the following semester and recently got inducted into a prestigious honor society for 2 year colleges, which was a goal of mine to finally accomplish.

I’ve made a ton of new friends and lost some along the way. But the important thing was: I now had opportunities. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in college life, to enjoy my life, WHEREVER I AM. That’s what life is about anyway, right? To do things that make you happy and give you a sense of what you are capable of.

I found myself, at community college. I was able to take a breath of fresh air and get to know people from ALL walks of life. I was able to understand where each person was coming from and in the process, I learned a lot about myself. I gained this sense of confidence that just came as I was seeing what I was capable of and how I can use my gifts, as a writer, communicator, to push me further in my academic and professional life.

So remember that question I asked before? Have you ever had one of those days that start off shitty and get better as the day goes on?

Well, going back to that question: In life, we often have shitty starts. Shitty starts in our careers, shitty starts in our goals, etc. But we have to make the decision to continue, because it does get better. I had an unfortunate situation in the beginning when I started my college journey, but did I give up? I wanted to, but I didn’t. I didn’t give up when the going got tough, I stuck to my guns and did what I could to succeed. It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.

We aren’t perfect beings.

We need to be okay with taking a hit in life and making something good come out of it.

I honestly give so much gratitude to the people in my life who saw me, for me, even in times when I didn’t see that in myself.My family has been amazing and super supportive in my life, especially during these past couple of years.  It’s been the friends and even mentors that I’ve gained at Community College that gave me that motivation to aim higher in my life.

With only a couple of weeks until I graduate from college with my associates, I’m so thankful for the experiences and opportunities that have been given to me at this school. I’m ready.

Sending love and light your way,

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