College · Let's Get Serious

My Fifth Semester of College Taught me…

Honestly, I don’t know where to begin this blog post. I’ve been doing this series since my very first semester of college and thinking about that Heidi puts me in a weird place. Like I know that was me, obviously, but it’s hard to reconcile the two of us. Bitch was angry, sad, ignorant, she chose to become hardened to her life. It’s not that I get sad thinking about her, but it just makes me feel kinda weird, yet grateful. I’m so grateful I’m not that person anymore. I have come a long, long way since then. Anyways, while trying to think about this post, I felt like I had very little to say. Y’all know its been a hard semester and I’ve felt like I’ve regressed more than anything. I’m not sure if this is actually true or if it’s just Coldplay’s music influencing this melancholy mood. Regardless, I will try my best to untangle this past semester and hopefully y’all will find some help.

My fifth semester of college taught me that I tend to undermine my accomplishments. For some reason, I think of ways that explain away my successes. I can’t just accept that I earned something, I have to think of ways that explain my accomplishment is truly an accident. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m literally in my third year of college and I’m waiting for someone to come kick me out because I’ve really been failing all this time. Like no Heidi, you’ve stayed on the deans list, maintained a 3.7 GPA, I don’t think you’re gonna be kicked out anytime soon.

My current struggles do not undermine my past successes. My anxiety now, no matter how bad, does not take away the success I had last spring.  I was actually getting coffee with my psych prof and she had to remind me of this. Y’all know my anxiety has lowkey been out of control and my prof knew just by looking at me. She told me I looked “unsettled” and that’s when I knew I hadn’t been keeping it together as well as I thought I had been. She asked me what was going on and maybe some of you can relate, but when someone asks you that question, all you can do is sigh? Like the enormity of everything that has been going on feels like too much to explain. The thought of talking about it just wears you out. I don’t know, maybe no one gets what I’m saying, but basically yeah. She asked me and it was like “oh bitch, you don’t even want to know.”  But because I respect my psych professor and she’s also a counselor (not like I’m able to hide much from that) I shared bits and pieces about  what had been happening all semester. I’m glad I did because homegirl is so freaking smart that I learned so many helpful strategies in our hour long conversation, it made me question why I waited so long to talk about my problems at all. Anyways, she reminded me that I am truly not that special, in the most loving way. Me getting a low grade in a class, or my GPA dropping has zero effect on the universe. I have little to no effect on the universe. Which, I know, sounds harsh, but anxiety truly does make me feel like every single action of mine has catastrophic consequences.  I kinda laughed when she told me that, because I was just like “yeah, you’re right.” I am forever grateful that my school gave me this role model, because I truly do look up to her.

Nostalgia is a bitch. I feel like we all know this to some degree. But this hit me hard this semester. Julia and I have had a different friend group every single semester we’ve been at school. Whether that be because we found out what kind of people they are or because they’ve transferred, we’ve had to remake friends. It’s freaking weird. But also insanely refreshing to know that we’ve built so many bridges to other people who offer new and different opportunities. Nostalgia, though, likes to take that away and make me think that last semester was better, last year was better, nothing will compare to those, etc. That’s not even strictly in regards to friends, but to myself as well. Last spring I was doing so good. I was going to counseling, handling my anxiety, dealing with my problems as soon as they arose, and then suddenly.. I just wasn’t. So, I was faced with nostalgia for my past mental health. It was, or I guess I should say is, an overall shitty feeling. I want to be able to be happy now. Not look back on times and think that they were my only sprouts of happiness. My fifth semester of college taught me that I forgot how to be happy now.

I will never, ever, take music in the western world again. Nope. The worst part is that I chose this class thinking it wouldn’t be that bad. I mean my thought process was that this course was a gen ed and it would just be memorizing music facts. Needless to say, I was completely wrong, I’d rather take stats again than take this course.

I got through an entire semester of Studies in Genre-British Novel without reading a single novel. I shouldn’t be proud of this but I am and I owe it all to shmoop.com.

I learned that combining my psychology knowledge in my English papers produces my best work.

I wrote so many damn papers, mostly experimental reports (that I got all flat As on) and three extremely hard English papers that made me question daily why I chose that as my minor.

Patience. Which honestly, is something that I don’t feel like I really have. But while reflecting, I realized that there were a lot instances that required patience and I didn’t even bat an eye. I don’t know how I did it, but I mostly think it was through the strength of prayer. Thank you Jen, for allowing me to pour into you and seeing you discover yourself, I appreciate you.

People are wells of knowledge. Through a long conversation, (I often have epiphanies from my own words during long talks) I realized that people are truly full of so much information. I love learning, people can give me knowledge about things that books cannot. Each person has their own unique experiences and they have wisdom from those and that wisdom can be so valuable.

My friends are the most caring individuals I think I’ll ever meet. I mean that simply too. They love me, pour into me, support me, wipe my (very rare) tears, talk through stupid situations, they accept me. Each year I am more and more grateful for the friendships that I form while at school. I’m lowkey getting emotional right now thinking about the ways they held me up this semester. So y’all, if you’re reading this (its too late jkjk) thank you.

Specifically Julia, each year our friendship changes. We had a rough go at it freshman year, but we made it. Sophomore year, wow again rough, but it turned out more than okay. Junior semester, ok so not as rough, but not “great”. You know, I think about our friendship often and I’m amazed by not only Julia, but also the type of friendship we’ve created. I think that I will only ever have this type of friendship with her. We were talking like two weeks ago about our friendship and I told her that I loved our friendship more now than I did freshman year. I love the openness we have, the trust that’s been built, I guess you could say the foundation that we built. It’s sturdy. But I told her that, even though we’ve known each other for roughly three years, we have grown up together. Obviously, not physically, but mentally we have. College is a time where you learn and change so much and more importantly, you grow up. We sorta decided that we helped each other grow up. She has given me knowledge through her experiences and I have given her mine. She is my best person.

Learning by teaching is one of the best ways for me to learn. Honestly, if I didn’t have Denita with me in Behavioral Neuroscience, I’m not sure I would have realized how much I benefited from this. Because I mean, yeah, sure I knew that I generally did well when explaining concepts to others, but it was always few and far between. Whereas, this semester, Denita and I worked through our notes together and she allowed me to explain things to her. I know this sounds simple, but like gurl, she made me feel so valued because she allowed me to teach her. I struggled so long with accepting my intelligence (and still do apparently) that its hard for me to think I can actually help people understand academic concepts. Please hear me, I don’t want this to sound like I had all of the answers at all times because we had to turn to youtube on more than one occasion, but through my notes from lecture we were able to get hella good grades in that class.

Speaking of Denita, aka my newest addition to the people that leave school too soon, she became one of my best friends this semester. First of all, I get to live with this beautiful chicken nugget of a potato and second of all, she is such a caring empathetic person. Other than the fact that I literally begged God and the universe for a person like her, I’m not quite sure how she ended up in my life. Denita is a rare gem and I am deeply indebted to her caring soul. Thank you dorito, for being you.

Movie nights are a requirement in our apartment, no matter who they’re with, you’re guaranteed at least one (sometimes two) weekend movie nights in our apartment. We make a literal bed with out futon and add comforters for comfort, we hack blocked movie sites, we have popcorn and chocolate chips, and lots of laughs. Sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll hear Kat and I act out The Titanic scenes.

“We ride together we die together”, my people is my people. They also taught me that I kinda really like playing call of duty. No but seriously, I’m always thankful for the laughter they bring.

My fifth semester of college taught me that I didn’t really digress at all. I mean, yeah maybe I’m not handling my anxiety as well as I once was, but also maybe my anxiety changed and I just have to adapt to that. I also didn’t go to counseling at all (but I did turn in my paper work finally!! read Life Update if confused) so I’m not sure why I’m surprised that I “crumbled”. To be honest, I didn’t crumble completely, I actually did pretty amazing this semester. I mean, lowkey humble brag (bc tbh I’ve been dragging myself all post), I got earned a 138/138 on my behavioral science final. I got earned a 100% on my 13 page research report on PTSD. I got told by one of the hardest English professors that I wrote an “astute paper” and he also had to go to my psych prof to be sure that I didn’t plagiarize (which she assured me is a compliment). Basically, while my mental health declined my academic life excelled :-). Which, kinda sounds like that quote from The Devil Wears Prada, Nigel said “Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. Means it’s time for a promotion.” Yep, sounds about right.

No in all honesty, I need to give myself some grace. I am not as bad I used to be. Kat and I were talking about it and we both kinda agreed that when anxiety “comes back” it feels worse, but it never really is. My medicine, while not working at full efficacy, has still enabled me to do things that I haven’t done before. Further more, while thinking about this conversation I had with Kat. I had expressed to her that I felt like my anxiety this semester, has been much more cognitive based versus physical based. Like I’ve been questioning interpersonal relationships a lot more now than I ever have. I haven’t had this type of anxiety before and I get why it’s been hurting me so badly. I’m being told by this evil buzzing blob that “people don’t really like me,” that “my prof doesn’t really like me because if she did we would smile at me” that “oh you think they like you? Cute. They’re just using you.”  that “remember that one time you said a joke and no one laughed? Yeah that’s because you’re not really wanted here” that “you think you’re worthy? Ha okay.” I wish I could make this stuff up, it would be easier than hearing it during almost every interaction I have. So yeah, I think I do deserve some grace. I also find it important to note that because of Kat and our insightful talks that are always random, I’ve learned so much more about the way anxiety manifests in each person. The way Kat moved into our apartment was so random but I know that it had to be because we needed each other. Her soul and strength amaze me.

Wow okay so I think it’s fair to say that my earlier statement about not feeling like I learned a lot this semester is false. I learned a lot. I just hope y’all did too. Never stop changing. Never stop growing. Never stop blossoming.

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