You’re a college freshman, a transfer or maybe you’ve been a student for a good few years. You’re far from your friends. You’re having doubts about your major or don’t know which one to pick. You’re having issues with money. The professors scare you. Whatever the case may be, you probably feel lost, lonely and vulnerable. As a third year transfer student, I’ve been experiencing a couple of these myself throughout my college experience. Here’s some advice for anyone in the same boat:
1.Everyone is fighting their own battle
It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one carrying burdens of life but that’s very far from the truth. Your classmate might be dealing with a terrible breakup. The man serving you lunch might have night school homework he’s been procrastinating on. The R.A. of your floor could be considering getting a second job to make ends meet. Looking outside yourself can really put things into perspective. Everyone around you is going through something, big or small. While you feel like the world is ending, someone might look at you and think you have all your cards straightened out. Believe me, we are all in it together.
2. Count your forgotten victories
If things are getting really hard, you might feel like you’re stuck and you won’t make it through. This is the time to remember all the times you thought that but made it out anyway. Recall the time you got one hundred percent on that essay you had no confidence in. The time you had an extra shift at work but still managed to complete that online assignment. Even small victories count! You called your mom when you said you were going to. You figured out where your classes are without looking at the map. You did your laundry before all the clothes in your closet were dirty! Everyone has more endurance and talent than they think they do. Keep pushing forward.
3.Get out of the fish bowl
Sitting in your own pool of suffering isn’t going to make your problems go away. Get out of your bed, your dorm, your house or your apartment. Walk your dog or just go for a walk and breathe in fresh air. Take yourself out to a movie. Go out to eat with your roommates. Finally go to that club meeting this evening. Anything to do with leaving your current residence would be great. Allow your mind and body to focus on other things. Sometimes when I feel really overwhelmed I go down to the beach near my university. It gives me an hour of peace and a chance to be in the present rather than just living in my head. If you take a moment to breathe, you might find that your problem isn’t as bad as you think.
4. People care. Don’t handle it alone
This is one of the most important things to remember but the easiest to forget. Don’t keep everything to yourself. Talk to someone. Whether it is a friend, a relative or your roommate. On my hardest nights, I would talk to my roommates and it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. If you feel like you can’t talk to your friends, your family or your roommates about it for whatever reason, take advantage of the resources your college offers you. Most colleges offer free counseling or psychologist services. Make an appointment and give it a try. A neutral party could be exactly what you need. Remember, you are not a burden and you deserve to be heard, whatever your issue is.