If there’s one thing I’ve discovered in my year and a half of attending college, it’s that I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for. I’ve learned that I produce my best work under pressure, have absolutely no idea how to navigate relationships, and am entirely self-sufficient. I’ve found myself bounce back from a dip into depression with the simple power of hair. I’ve determined that if I desire for something to happen, I’ll make it happen, consequences be damned. But I’ve also learned harsh truths. I’ve learned that the cold floor touching your cheek when you lie on the bathroom floor, the anxiety ceiling you, is the worst sensation in the world. I’ve waded through highs and lows regarding my insecurities, that even I don’t know where I stand where my ego is concerned. I’ve learned that waving away mental health as a trivial concern, is the worst mistake you can make.
Thanks, College, for doing a number on me.
When I say such a statement, I often am reminded of the person I was in high school; my personality was much more black and white. I was overconfident in my abilities, never had much anxiety, was rigid in my opinions, and didn’t believe I could reconcile with those who disagreed with me. I was incredibly sure of the person I was, the relationships I would want, and the threshold I could feasibly have for stress.
I entered college with this rigid mindset, overconfidence and surety of what I wanted. But it really seemed as if I’d entered an ocean of confusion, and the currents had stripped away every facet of me that I believed was permanent.
I entered the abode of anxiety, where I was sometimes incapable of finding a balance to juggle academics, relationships and responsibilities. College made me realize that all my anxiety is mental; I do not feel a pounding heart or emit harsh breaths that thunder in my ear, as others with anxiety do. Rather, my mind will go haywire, thoughts spiraling and rumbling around like pebbles rolling down a hill; physically, I’ll remain as if I was calm. College also forced me to reconcile that crying wasn’t a weakness—as I had previously for my entire life believed—after all, I couldn’t consider myself weak each time I cried, because the effect would be too damaging to my perception of myself. College also forced me to develop relationships with those who fundamentally disagreed with me, and see the human behind the opinion. Before, I’d measured people by the weight of their opinions in comparison to mine, but now, I’ve realized that humans are humans, regardless of thought. The diurnal thread of college has also commanded me to freeze that hand waving away mental health as unimportant, because sometimes, I’d find myself stuck in the quicksand of doubt, depression and insecurity, and only acknowledging that I was in a place where my mental health mattered help pull me out.
The end result is this: I do not know who I truly am, what I want out of myself and others, and what my limits are. And this lack of not knowing who I am worries me, as I absolutely abhor the unknown. But I’m discovering the bits and pieces of myself as I go, collecting them and holding them close. So thanks college, for the dive into the unknown of myself, and for doing a number on me.