I had this warped vision of what college would be like: gothic archways, eccentric professors, anti-establishment and late night philosophical discussions. It was not like that at all. More comparatively, it was reminiscent of middle-school, except you couldn’t go into a test and get an A (let alone pass) without studying beforehand. The only “independence” I gained from living 700 of miles away from my parents was terrible food and an accumulation of laundry. Here is what changed for me in college:
- I am not conceited about my intelligence anymore (in fact, I can’t even remember what feeling “smart” was like)
- Buy 40 pairs of socks and 60 underwear (it’s what pretty much determines whether you do laundry or not)
- When people tell you “it doesn’t matter where you go for undergrad.,” believe them
- You’ll go from reading Shakespeare in your English class to Graphic novels
Throughout my livings in college, I’ve learned it doubt all sources of information without proper confirmation (especially when it comes to politics from liberals and conservatives alike), to become much more appreciative of my family and that studying while lying on your bed for over 24 hours hurts your back (don’t do it!). Next semester, I plan to take it easier. Hopefully, I’ll have enough time to allocate the proper focus for each class. I gained meaningful friendships—but with 24,000 undergrads, I want to branch my friends from more than the people I live with.
Goodbye university (at least for four months).
With the stigma surrounding mental health, it is hard to broach discussions over your well-being or your friends’ well-being casually. When I find myself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I tend to keep it to myself—preferring to deal with my woes alone at the expense or looking like someone unstable or a whiner to my friends, atypical from my customary cheerful persona. Since the onslaught of freshmen year at university, I feel that the university has done a sound job of highlighting and bringing up mental health, essentially breaking the ice. The only complaint I have, however, is resources just tend to fall around CAPS. While this is not the only option, it is the most stressed choice and seems like the only option when discussing mental health. Furthermore, while CAPS is a viable resource, there are problems surrounding it too. For example, making an appointment. In the shoes of someone feeling overwhelmed etc., it is sometimes pertinent to talk to someone now, with waits ranging from days to weeks to make an appointment, that is generally hard. Also, in most scenarios, you would be speaking with a stranger who does not truly understand your perspective. Another resource is talking to your RA, PA (with respect to HSSP) DPSS and ResStaff. There are issues surrounding speaking with ResStaff too if you know this person and will see them around occasionally. Back home, when I felt stressed out or overwhelmed, I generally turned to my parents who expressed understanding and I felt safe from stigma/judgment. Being thousands of miles away, this is a lot harder—but is still usually my go-to choice. I also consider friends as a supportive community to lean on. I think it is also important to escape from the campus bubble for the sake of your well-being too. My question is this: where would you go on campus for mental health prevention or treatment?
When I first came to university, I did not want to have the label of “annoying/obnoxious” individual that subtly followed me throughout my high school career. I wanted to emulate the shyer more mysterious types that I knew: “No one every says anything bad about them” I reasoned.
As a strong extrovert, this was not the best course of action. My social health, compared to other well-beings, was gradually decreasing like a Sims dial. In the “Letter to Myself” I urged myself to think a lot of my health and physical well-being. Noting that I had to “exercise at least three times a week” and to join extracurriculars like yoga. This was my goal throughout the summer and naturally, I thought this is what is the most paramount thing I would have to maintain throughout college. I even addressed my financially well-being. As a college student, I knew that I had to be much more stingy with how I spent my cash as I knew that my parents were not going to be over my shoulders at any given time. My social health, however, was not even touched upon in the piece.
Many points early in the semester, I loitered with myself. Eating lunch with only my cellphone as company. I was content, but did not realize that that was hurting me over time. Pretty soon, I had a breakdown. “I don’t have any friends,” I confessed to my parents over the phone one day. “I want to go back home.” This dynamic continued on for the next month—October—until I finally put a halt to it. I told myself to quit pitying my situation. The only person that got myself in this position was me and the only one that could get myself out is me. I couldn’t continue to wait for someone to fall from the heavens. I started to act like my “obnoxious” self once again. Starting conversations with semi-strangers, excitedly interrupting others when we started talking about a relatable topic, and so on. I am proud that I can go to Mojo any time, any day during the week and find someone to sit with. Professionally, I garnered more perspectives about others in my life. I became more tolerant of views that were not necessarily even in the same league as mine. Next semester, I want to be able to manage my time more wisely so that all the well-beings can be balanced instead of having sleep greatly lacking with social health extremely high.
- What do you think your purpose is? How will you find it if you don’t know? How will you maintain or change it if you do know?
- My encompassing purpose in life — while somewhat abstract — is to be content and satisfied. I do not want to ever feel that I could have done more, but I want to work as hard as I can. I think as I continue to grow wiser, I will find a more definite purpose. While I do not know my purpose exactly, my goal currently is to do well in my courses, exams, and activities so that I will be able to attend medical school.
- What excuses do you use in your life? How can you combat against these excuses and continue to push forward toward your passion?
- My continued excuses is revolved around my own self-esteem/self-doubt. I believe myself to be “not good enough.” That is, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough that I cannot achieve what I aim to do. It continues to hold me back and it impedes me from success. I quit piano, I stopped all sports I tried in my youth because I was “not good.” To combat this way of thinking, I remind myself that not everyone is perfect on the first try and that I should continue to work hard to achieve what my goal is.
- What do you think Larry means when he finishes his talk with the word “unless?”
- I think that Larry means that we are our own barriers, that nothing is holding ourselves back but our own insecurities. We can continue to have all these goals, but they are meaningless of we use the excuse “unless.” To achieve success, we have to overcome ourselves first.
Now for a question for all of you guys: what is your plan to achieve your “purpose” in life. If you do not know what your purpose is, what is your plan to achieve your next goal?