Struggling in college is not shameful

Jayde Teutsch

I started this article with the intention of writing a positive piece explaining the ways college can force someone to grow up, but I realized students should not have to accept the way college leaves them drained and their pockets empty.  

There were few things I simultaneously hated and craved in high school more than coming to college. I felt so excited to develop a personality outside of my hometown, but I was terrified to leave my shell behind. I have changed so significantly since last fall, and I have realized not all change can be plainly described as good or bad.  

While in college, you must start thinking like an adult- you might start looking for an apartment and you pick up more hours because you have so many bills to pay and the need to have your entire life planned after college is rapidly approaching. These blessings can feel like curses at times, a plight that can make going through changes heavier.  

I do not think anyone would argue most adults have stormy feelings about our generation; they sometimes feel we are lazy, desperate to live a wild-life and incapable of ‘growing up’. This judgement is wrongfully placed upon us though because our generation has the burden of being one of the last to be raised by parents that believed in such a mindset. We have lived lives full of hardships with parents who believe toughing it out makes us stronger.  

Most peers I talk to feel there is always another assignment due, another test to study for and another class not taught well. Few of them open entirely to reveal the effects these stressors cause. Having these problems does not make us weak or immature, but rather suggests a need for more mental support and change on college campuses; the lack of support for students going through difficult times needs to be addressed rather than explained away.  

I have changed a lot since my first semester of college. I have experienced a lot more of life and my perspective on it has changed dramatically, but I have also dealt with heartbreak and reoccurring stress. There are times I felt like telling someone I was really struggling but fell short of doing so in fear of them saying “everyone goes through that” or “you’ll be fine”. Sharing an experience with many people doesn’t make it feel any less personal or stressful in the moment, though.  

There are few ways to encourage a healthier conversation for mental health other than supporting your friends and family. Past experiences that discourage me from sharing my anxieties are all events when someone did not support me through a rough time; I either felt I was being judged or my experience was not severe enough to be upset about it. Nobody can support others without first having a healthy mindset, so let’s be nice to everyone!! 

Yes, growing up can be stressful. Just because that is true does not mean kids should not get help through those stressful times. A lot of people experiencing a difficult situation does not mean it is a normal occurrence best left alone, it means a lot of people need support to get through a difficult situation. Leaving people to stumble through dark times alone allows hurt to change them into someone they do not like, so help them be the best person they can be.  

It can be difficult finding a balance between helping others while keeping yourself afloat, so be nice to yourself. A positive view on life comes from a positive view of your energy. You are not weak for needing help nor are you ungrateful for finding life overwhelming.  

Do not ever feel ashamed about reaching out for help. A dark sky today will make the sunny skies of tomorrow so much more beautiful, and I wish you all nothing but sunny skies!! 🙂