College wasn’t what I had imagined.
It consisted of a spiraling loss of friendships who were dear to me. My family crumbling into pieces. News that broke me for a long time. And depression. Yes, depression.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m always a really happy person but for once in my life, I was depressed. From graduating high school with a 4.3 GPA to skipping classes and watching Friends instead of doing homework. I was barely holding onto my studies and barely holding myself above water.
I felt alone.
I felt like a very small fish in a big ocean.
I tried to keep myself busy to make the time pass. I picked up a couple jobs, joined a leadership group, did community service, and found a new love for working out and nutrition (shoutout to Leonard).
But it didn’t make time move faster.
My “friends” would crack jokes at the kids who stayed home saying they weren’t receiving the same education as us at the big university but that was so far from the truth.
On winter break when I was home for a few weeks, I visited my old Health Occupation Teacher Mrs. Marcus, she reassured me that it didn’t make me look like a failure if I came home at the end of the year and attended the university nearby. That it was perfectly okay.
Have you ever just needed someone’s advice other than your mom or dad? Someone who won’t just tell you what you want to hear and someone who doesn’t have any serious expectations of you but knows your heart. She was that for me and I came back from Christmas break with bricks off of my shoulder.
Now every time we drive through that college town, I feel a rush of complete sadness as all those feelings flood back to the surface. I had some great memories too, and I met some great people.
I don’t regret going because it opened my eyes that;
- It truly does not matter if you go away to college or not. And this should be stressed to every senior and every college freshman.
- College life isn’t for everyone.
- Sometimes homesickness isn’t a place but a person.
- Depression can happen to the happiest of people.
- In one year so much can change; friendships, family, relationships, happiness.
- Pick people who pick you.
- I didn’t learn who I was while I was there but I learned who I didn’t want to be, I learned who showed up for me and who didn’t.
Most people reading this blog are past college but maybe this pertains to your high schooler, your niece or nephew, or your sibling.
Maybe this resonates with you about your own college memories and maybe it doesn’t because you loved college.
I just wish I would have known what I know now and how little some things mean even though we put so much emphasis on it at the time. I wish I didn’t have this perfect envision that college life would be amazing and roomies were fun and food court food was delicious and I’d discover myself and all my best friends would stay. Because it led me to a really sad discovery.
But I’m here to say; I went back home and I still got my bachelors degree. I still graduated on time (which it’s completely fine if you don’t!). I still finished one of the best nursing programs in the state. I met even greater friends. Got better jobs. I still passed my boards. I still landed a job in the emergency department of a level one trauma center. I started doing travel nursing. And I’m living my best life.
When you find yourself stumbling, allow yourself to fall, gather your bearings and get back on your feet. The world will always try to knock you down. It only matters that you get back up and change the trajectory of your life.
Prioritize your happiness. Eliminate those around you who make you feel less than worthy. Figure yourself out. Scrap the expectations. Get off course, find a better trail and take that one– even if it’s a longer route, it may be the more scenic route.
This is your one life, there’s no retakes, rewinds or redos. Make sure it’s the life you’re happy with.