Month: October 2016

New Lease on Life at College

Hey,

So in my most recent post I mentioned that college has been going better for me and it has.  If anyone is experiencing or experienced something similar to what I was, I just wanted to give a little advice for what worked in my case.

First of all,  I reached out to someone.  For me it was my mom.  She has always been really supportive of me and accepted that I might take a different path in life than she did.  So when I called because I kept almost crying in class and I felt really isolated, she was there to listen to me and offer guidance that I couldn’t see in my sad haze.  If you can’t reach out to your mom, maybe a close friend, even a stranger could be helpful.  If you need someone and you don’t have anyone, please feel free to reach out to me.  I have a couple social media accounts of mine on my “Find Me” page, so please talk to me if you need someone.

I then made an appointment with a counselor.  On my mom’s suggestion, like I said in my last one and the actual session went really well.  It was nice to have my problems and emotions be validated by a professional and he was really kind and offered solutions.  He made me feel more confident in approaching college life and understanding that it’s what I make of it.  I went back for another session two weeks later because it had already been set up, but it was mostly a “I am doing much better and I don’t think I need to come again because you were really helpful last time” thing.  I highly suggest seeking professional help because it worked really well for me.  For some people that might not be the case and I totally get that, but it is worth a shot if you find a good person to help.

Next is getting used to your own company.  I don’t remember where I heard this, but “College is the time you really get to know yourself, even in the hard times you find out how much you can take on and how strong you really can be.”  I started eating alone and sitting by myself in public.  When you do that, you can see just how many other people are doing the same thing and that can just make you feel better.  I am kind of an extrovert, so it was hard for me to not be around others all the time, but I have learned some great techniques to spend time with myself (i.e. watching Netflix, listening to music, coloring).  It’s really nice to learn more about who I want to be and how that affects my outlook.  Knowing and liking yourself is really important because you spend a lot of time with yourself just one on one.

This next one might not be right or feasible for everyone, but change your environment!  I lived in Poling Hall which is the party hall of campus and it really wasn’t the right fit for me.  I had difficulty sleeping, the people made me feel uncomfortable, and the room just didn’t feel like home.  I decided to move to my friend’s hall because when we would hang out, it just felt right for me.  I couldn’t really put my finger on it (other than the amazing showers), but I moved over and now I am just in a better place of mind.  It feels like a home that pales in  comparison to the real thing, but it is light-years better than the way I felt at Poling.  Even just making a place more cozy can change your emotions and lower your stress levels.  Maybe you can’t move, but try finding something that would make your home space more comfortable for you and see if that makes you feel better.  It worked for me at least!

Really, I am dong so much better.  That first week I felt like I had just jumped in a freezing pool.  Shocked at all the changes in my environment.  Now I’m getting used to the water and swimming around a bit.  College is hard and everyone feels a little lonely, even if they don’t look it.  That doesn’t really help me when I feel that way, but it does when I am out of it.  I hope this helps any of you going through something similar.  Again, please reach out to me if I can help you in any way.  I know what it feels like and I don’t want you to go through it alone.

-Ali

Counseling 

Yo,

So today I went to the Couseling center on campus and had a consultation because of how I’ve been feeling lately. I don’t know if it really helped, but it did make me feel like my problems are insignificant compared to people with real problems. People that were abused at home, people that are suicidal. What is a little anxiety and depression compared to that?

It was only a consultation, but the woman made me feel like my problems weren’t big enough to be seeking help. When I finished talking about this isolation that is eating my insides and the fear that I have of my unknown surroundings, she immediately said “I don’t mean to negate your feelings, but it’s only the first week.” I don’t know about you, but that did not make me feel safe. I just shut down basically and had to sit there while she was setting up my first session and listen to her offer her two cents.

I’m doing this for my mom. She wants me to be successful on campus so she worries when I call home and say that I’m not feeling 100%. I’m meeting an advisor that specializes in first generation college kids later this week and I think that will be more helpful. Her job is to help me stay enrolled on campus and feel more involved. THAT is what I need. I’m really skeptical of this counseling session.

I’m also pissed that I’ll have to miss class. The whole point of me going to college is to learn and I’d rather do that.

I just feel like she was not supportive of me and the issues I’m facing. Yeah, I’m sure that lady has seen a lot of shit,  but she only knows that one part of my person. She doesn’t know my past or why I’m feeling this way. She just thinks it’s first week blues. Oh well. I guess I’ll go.

-Ali

P.S. I wrote this about a month ago, I think its important to my progress to still post it and I’ll make another update post because I’m feeling a lot better and more confident now.  Counseling actually went really good, but I’ll post more about that later.