It’s okay to struggle

By Kimberly Ngoh, Columnist

College can be seen as a time of exploration — figuring out what you want to do post-graduation, discovering who your true friends are and finding what works for you in terms of balancing grades, a social life and sleep. For some of us, it may feel like we have yet to get our lives together while everyone else seems to be on track.

Looking back, college was an exciting prospect for me. Like most people, I began freshman year with hopes high of replicating friendships it took years to build and expectations I would enjoy every bit of newfound freedom.

Albeit not applicable to everyone, these expectations can set one up for disappointment. Furthermore, it can be rough trying to live up to the standards you upheld in high school. For a myriad  of reasons, freshman year can be a difficult time, but it’s important to remember struggling is ok.

As  a sophomore or beyond, it may feel like you no longer get to play the freshman card, having had a whole year or more to adjust to life here. Nevertheless, not knowing what you’ll do for a career or still feeling lonely sometimes and being unable to get eight hours of sleep while managing a social life and good grades are valid struggles. Know you are not alone in these struggles — if that is any comfort.

What most of us expect is for life to start working itself out post freshman year. Naturally, this may lead to feelings of panic and incompetence when you hear about your friend receiving multiple job offers or feelings of loneliness and depression when you crave the security of a trusted friend group, like the one you had in high school.

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More importantly, the stigma associated with mental health can sometimes push one to suppress their emotions, but the truth is, no one should have to feel nervous, guilty or embarrassed about feeling depressed or anxious.

Recognizing you are hurting, being honest and talking about your problems is certainly no easy feat but one necessary in overcoming its effects. Explaining your experiences to a therapist, a close family member, mentor or friend you trust can be enlightening.

Do not fret about a job offer yet to come or the fact you don’t even know if this is the right path for you. Everyone moves at their own pace, and comparison gets you nowhere. Being mindful and self-aware of what you are going through and what you can change about your situation will contribute toward your journey of self-discovery, whether it is taking measures to combat your procrastination habits, cutting out toxic friendships or changing the concentration of your major.

Kimberly is a junior in Engineering.

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