Stress, anxiety, and insecurity are all feelings that have come to me this past month. In fact, these feelings came so suddenly that I was shocked by how unexpected and frightening it all felt. The relaxed and completely stress-free emotions I had enjoyed after graduation seemed to evaporate in a second, replaced by sentiments inexplicable to me. When I chose to express how I was feeling, how depressed I was beginning to feel, I was either told I was being childish, or shunned completely for reacting in a way considered utterly pathetic. I began to feel completely alone.
What hit me next became worse. I became so anxious that the thought of college clouded my mind and judgement. I began to experience sleepless nights filled with thoughts of the worst case scenarios that I could encounter while beginning my first semester; falling grades, isolation, panic attacks during examinations, all-nighters filled with endless homework, and the inability to keep up with Blackboard and be the organized student I should be. The two and a half month summer break I had taken filled with laughter and happiness had somehow convinced myself that I was slacking and would not be able to get back into my A-student habits once September came around.
My brain continued to replay the same depressing scenes. The ones that kept me up at night as I would lay still and stare at the ceiling for what seemed like hours. The subjects that would challenge me most, Chemistry and Mathematics, caused an extreme panic within me, one I had never felt before even if I was completely conscious that I had taken AP Chemistry and Calculus and succeeded. The fact that my studies rather than a tragic event or other more problematic issues had instilled such feelings within me angered me and made me question my strength. This anger was what I used to channel confidence and greater security.
I began to tell myself, “Snap out of it! You’re so much better than this, even your friends believe in you. You need to start believing in yourself.” I started focusing on everything I had achieved in the past four years of my life, and the immense effort I had put into getting where I am. I remembered that I would never be alone on that college campus, but would be around people studying the same subjects, and feeling the same stressful student angst. No one on that campus would be completely confident in their studies, and no one would experience perfect days. I had to understand that all the stress and pain I was feeling every second of the day was unnecessary because it was simply all “if” scenarios that I had not yet experienced. I had not yet experienced my first day as a college freshmen.
Having felt all the typical angsty freshmen feelings, I have decided to focus all my energy on the extracurriculars and enjoyable activities I would be doing besides the 24/7 studying and work I previously imagined myself doing as a freshmen. I will finally find the courage to express myself through the art of singing and performing, my one true passion. I will indulge in acting classes to finally break my wall of shyness and insecurity, and to discover whether I do have talent in something I never previously found the courage to do. Instead of playing on a team that will create even more stress and crying nights, I will start by joining a club sport to see if I enjoy the competitiveness and the adrenaline. I will join a dance team to let my creative and wild side set itself free for once in my life. Finally, I will speak up to important issues in our world today by joining political, cultural, and social organizations.
By writing this article, I have expressed everything I have been feeling for a while now. Writing is such an amazing tool to utilize that we often forget is at our disposal. And let me just say, I now feel much more free, happy, and blissful.