For the First Time, I’m Happy


For the first time in a long while, I’m actually happy to be in college.  For people who see me and may not know my struggles, I may seem like a happy and positive college student.  While part of that is true, there have been many times I wasn’t that way. During the first semester of my freshman year, I was almost always anxious.  Going to college was a major change in my life, and that triggered a lot of anxiety. The anxiety came in the form of almost always expecting the worst possible outcome from every situation. I would then obsess over this due to my OCD.  I worked through my struggles by continuing to receive help from professionals, and as a result, I felt better during most of that second semester.

Then during my sophomore year, I went through situational depression.  The scary part was that I didn’t know whether it was situational or if I was developing clinical depression.  While people can live successful lives with clinical depression and be able to have a lot of moments of happiness, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to function or ever be happy again.  Part of me felt hopeless– I felt like I would never feel better. I had negative thought after negative thought.

I went back the second semester, but part of me honestly didn’t want to be in college.  I remember telling my mom that I wanted to stay home and do nothing. She said said that I had to do something, like most parents would, whether it was stay home and get a job or go back to school.  I texted my mom a lot during that year saying, “I hate school” and “I want to quit.”

The summer after that second year was probably the best summer I’ve ever had.  I got my license, turned 21, and saw some friends and extended family. However, the day before I went back to school, I felt extremely anxious and broke down crying.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I was scared that if I went back to school I would start feeling bad again. I decided to go back to school. I remember saying, “I’ll go back because I don’t have any better options and don’t know what I want to do.”  When I went back to school I felt anxious; I still have OCD and will probably always have OCD. I still have some anxiety and intrusive thoughts from my OCD such as, “What if I said something bad that I didn’t want to say? What if I cheated on the lab quiz?” both things which I know I haven’t done.  

However, I’m handling things a lot better and in turn I feel better!  I’m problem-solving in more situations, which used to be very hard for me.  I’m learning that it’s okay that I don’t have it all together. I’m gaining valuable insight from professors, not only on work, but also about life and how to “compartmentalize,” and how I’m not the only one who has struggled.  

College is where I became a mental health advocate.  It’s the place where I try new things. I like my job, my coworkers, and my boss.  College has allowed me to see new places, and has made me realize how much more of the world there is to see. It’s where I’ve met amazing friends who have been there for me and have stood by me even when I wasn’t doing well.  I am grateful, and for the first time, I’m actually happy that I get to go to college!