As I look back on my college experience thus far, I feel like much of it will probably prove to be some of the worst years of my life rather than the best. In some ways, I saw the absolute worst parts of myself come out: I let depression and anxiety eat me alive, I let the pain from a friendship break-up and a relationship break-up destroy my ability to love and seek out relationships of any kind, I pursued people and made friends who were not good for me, I procrastinated way too much, and I didn't always put forth my best efforts in class. Despite that, I figured out a lot about myself, and I accomplished a lot academically, despite the fact that my GPA got scarily close to going below a 3.0 at times, a whole letter below what it was in high school. I've tried hard and worked hard, but I know there were a lot of moments where I could have worked harder. The intense environment there is sometimes almost too much for me. It's not only been academically challenging, but getting to know other whitties has been a major culture shock, too. I didn't come from an upper-class urban/suburban west coast background like almost everyone else there did, and while most whitties are pretty nice, I hardly ever find a real friendship spark there, let alone a romance spark. That was part of why the falling-outs I had were so painful, as finding people that I even click with at all has been so rare for me. For almost three years, I internally beat myself up for not being able to fit in with most of the other whitties in anything, from fashion to career goals to personal interests to life experiences. Yet, the other side of that truth was that I beat myself up about that and my academic difficulties and fears about the future, and let it take me into a battle with depression and anxiety rather than trying to get along with people and do the best that I could, and that was no one's fault but mine. I also used the excuse of depression to not ask for help from professors or people around me when I needed it the most. When I was at my worst, I would binge eat or only eat when I had to and skip class for no reason. Thankfully, I found the strength to get past that, but the anxiety and fear surrounding anything having to do with meeting with professors/grades still remains, though I will continue to fight it, as I know that hesitating to talk with them will result in more missed opportunities and connections. I no longer doubt my intelligence and my abilities, but I will have to shove away my fish-out-of-water feelings as I keep in touch with my professors for my thesis work next year. In order for me to move on and graduate, I'm just going to have to learn from my mistakes, keep my GPA up, and focus on the next step, as I do plan to go to graduate school. It has felt really terrible to think about the academic and social aspects of the past few years and feel that while I've learned a lot and become stronger through my struggles, I'm just not going to have a ton of fond memories of my time there. But, life is what you make of it, and maybe with my improved outlook, I'll be able to redeem my memories of Whitman in addition to doing well and moving on to grad school. I just hope that after this year, I won't have to add any more serious regrets to the list I've accumulated since starting college.
—Just wanted to share anonymously so others with similar silent struggles will know that they're not alone.
Posted at a quarter past twelve in the morning on July 29th, 2014.