The unconventional college experience

 

Getting down to business- College students are getting busy with assignments at a local coffee shop, rather than fighting the crowds at the on-campus study spots. Photo on Foter.com

by Missy Powell–

College is an often difficult time for young adults. It is a time to develop oneself and determine what ones likes and dislikes are. It is a time to make mistakes and to grow from them. Most worry that when they get to college, they’ll be stuck pursuing a career that they don’t like or end up not making any friends. The truth is, no one will have the exact same college experience as anyone else. No two people will go through the exact same things, and that is perfectly normal. I learned this one lesson the hard way.

I applied to attend college straight out of high school like most everyone else I knew. I was proud to be going to a four-year university unlike anyone else in my family. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 66.7 percent of high school graduates go on to a college or university, and I was one of the 66.7 percent. I was excited to finally be growing up and having the freedom to be an adult. As this journey was beginning, I was surely not in for the bumpy ride that was ahead of me.

I’ve attended three different institutions for my undergraduate career and the constant change made my anxiety levels become higher than ever. Upon arriving at Virginia Tech, I thought things would finally work in my favor. I really thought that this was the place I was always destined to be, as I’ve wanted to attend this wonderful place since I was six-years-old. Sadly, I was mistaken once again. A simple miscommunication turned into having the entire floor of my dorm know my name. I’d constantly hear whispers of lies and to know that people genuinely thought those things about me brought me to my lowest point. Those lingering words in my head telling me I should just kill myself turned into a plan. I never slept or ate, I never went to class, and I socialized with no one. The plan never turned into action, but I was given an ultimatum—seek help or leave school.

Since these events, I’ve learned that trying to follow a plan that society had set forth for me just was not going to work out. I believe there is a reason that I followed the path I did, and it’s never been something that I’d consider a regret. I have overcome the gripping anxiety and depression that has controlled every step I’ve taken for so long. In a short 42 days, I will graduate and become the first person in my family with a Bachelor’s degree, and I hope that these words serve to inspire just one person.