If you thought high school had it’s rough patches, well I’m sorry folks, but you are in for a major realization. College is hard.
All cards out on the table, college can kick your butt.
You’re probably living on your own now — you have to feed yourself three meals a day, wake up on your own, manage your time by yourself and worst of all, Mom isn’t there to make mac and cheese when you mess up.
Chances are, you will have several meltdowns, possibly within your first semester. What they aren’t going to teach you in school, kiddos, is that it’s okay to cry, to freak out (just keep it to a minimum).
I said it before and I will say it again, college is hard, and nobody should be expected to go through four years of intense schooling, learning how to be an adult, probably getting a job at some point and, let’s be honest, partying, without a few mental scars.
If and when you find yourself in a place where you are about to break — and you will, trust me, you will — there are a few things you can do to ease your mind.
Get out. I don’t mean watch the new hit movie, I mean simply, get out of wherever you are, and just do something.
Don’t sit in your room and worry about what is due when and what grade you need to get on this exam to pass that class.
Go for a bike ride, a run, even take a walk. Change your scenery. Go to a coffee shop and just people-watch for an hour, strike up a conversation with someone on a bus, get to know your roommate a little better, go to the Duck Pond and just watch life happen around you.
Call your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, sister or brother. Call someone in your family who knows you well and can just give you a pep talk. There is no shame in needing to call home once in a while — and you probably should. Mothers worry too, you know.
Turn off your electronics, listen to music and go to bed early. School is hard enough, but add in the pressures of social media and the need for constant contact, and you are basically screwed.
Turn off your phone, or if you can’t do that, put it in a drawer and walk away. Close your laptop, shut off your tablet — leave one device on to listen to music with if you need to — and lie down and breathe.
Listen to a song you have fond memories of, and just sink into your bed. Go to sleep before the party animals come stumbling home for once. Sleep is magic, but the trick is learning how and when to get it.
Do literally anything except what you are supposed to be doing. Yeah, you should always try and meet deadlines and do your best work, and that will get easier with time. Don’t give up, by all means don’t, but it is okay to turn in an assignment late once in awhile.
Strive for a good GPA, try not to jeopardize your graduation, but remember that one grade in a college class is not going to follow you for the rest of your life. Try to look at the bigger picture and remember that your health is of the utmost importance.
If all else fails, and even if it doesn’t, embrace the chaos.
Let the stress capture you for a moment. Punch it out in a pillow, cry it out, scream it out — as long as you aren’t disrupting the studying of others, of course.
Sometimes you have to let the meltdown catch you and just be upset for a little while.
Whatever you choose to do, keep in mind that college is hard, as is life. And yeah, I guess it gets easier, because you find new ways to deal with it all. Find something to keep your mind off stressors for a few hours and commit to it.
Celia Raney is the news editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Celia_Raney.