If I could go back to the beginning of the year, I would tell myself to enjoy every minute. I spent a lot of the first few months worried I would not fit in and/or do bad in classes. Consequently, my memories from this time period involve me being stressed out, worried, and unhappy. If I could go back I would tell myself to relax and be myself. Once I did that I found the most amazing friends and have created some of my fondest memories. I absolutely love the experience that I had this year! I have grown, and developed so much and honestly learned so much about myself and where I want to be in the future.
My only regret is not starting to have the time of my life sooner. However, without that brief period of confusion I might not have appreciated what this year has become quite so much. If I had the option to go back, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t trade where I am today, the friendships I’ve made, or the knowledge I’ve crammed into my brain for anything. I feel extremely lucky to be here and to be a part of the university of Michigan.
So, if I could go back and tell myself one thing I would say “your doing great!” Because honestly, I love my life and I love all the crazy experiences (even the bad ones) that got me here! I think moving forward I need to remember that even if I don’t like exactly where I am at a certain point, it is going to shape the amazing future I have ahead of me, and that makes me really excited!
What if you were trapped and no one knew? Would you scream and tell everyone or hide it and try to move on? Well if you said hide it then you are like most college students! Having a mental illness is like being trapped, and when no one can see it individuals often tend to push it aside and try to keep moving forward. Imagine the day you first cam to Michigan, were you happy, scared, anxious? Everyone deals with change differently. Coming to college you are asked to leave your support system and step into the unknown…College is a time for students to discover themselves, try new things, and learn! I can only imagine how hard it must be to leave your support system and deal with a mental illness at the same time, all on your own.
What these individuals need to know, is that they don’t have to do it by themselves! I was so surprised to hear that only 40% of individuals with mental health illness sought treatment and help. The other 60% either feel like they can deal with it on their own, or feel like they aren’t significant enough to seek help.
My question to all of you is how do you think that we, as a college campus, can ensure more individuals are getting the help they need but don’t necessarily ask for? How can we make the climate of Michigan a more supportive one?
I did not want to come to the University of Michigan. I was comfortable at home with the friends I knew, the places I had been, and the life I wanted to live. Thank goodness for my parents who pushed me out the door and assured me College was going to be the best experience of my life. They could not have been more correct!
Looking back on the first day, moving day, I was a shy girl trying to show everyone who I was… I had to prove myself, or so I thought. The letter I wrote a few long days after that was hopeful. I expressed what I wanted to get out of college, the friends I wanted to make, the courses I wanted to take, and the experiences I thought only happened in movies but was confused why it had not already happened.
Now the days go by faster than I want them to and I’m holding onto every moment of them! I have made some of the most incredible friendships and am learning more than I ever thought possible. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely tough at times but during those times (like right now, finals week) I know everything is going to be okay because of the support and love that I have gotten here in HSSP and the greater Michigan community.
I am most proud of my work ethic. I found it particularly hard at the beginning of the semester to find time to study but I have really changed my habits and I now make studying a priority. It has reduced my stress and my grades have been improving.
Next semester I want to continue to grow friendships and take advantage of more opportunities. It is overwhelming when 10 opportunities are thrown at me and I have had a bad habit of just closing my email. Next semester I really want to embrace the opportunities that I am given here at this University!
Coming into college we all have our own perception of what is going to be expected of us and how we are going to achieve our goals. Now that we are here, we realize that college is not what any of us assumed it would be. Though we work our tails off and study into the ungodly hours of the night, we are still exposed time and time again to failure. One of the biggest take aways that I got from lecture last week was not to be too hard on myself.
Though none of the panelist directly stated this, they inferred it through numerous responses. for example, many of them explained that grades aren’t everything. One of the lies that I am currently held captive by. They said that it’s more about a holistic approach now but if I don’t get an ‘A’ then I really don’t feel successful, so this made me wonder, am I being too hard on myself?
Another very interesting point that was brought up was a gap year. I never wanted to take a gap year, that was for individuals who didn’t know what they wanted in life, the ones who didn’t have it all together… or so I thought. I thought going through undergrad and straight to my masters would be the only way to achieve what I wanted. I know that this is yet another lie that had control over me, and I can’t be too hard on myself if I need some time to regroup.
After listening to the panel, do you feel like you are too hard on yourself? What made you realize that there might be a different path you could take through school?