I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life. I remember that feeling of “constant worry for no rational reason” as far back as first grade. I haven’t been to a therapist yet (I probably should since it would likely help me even more), but I have found my own ways to cope with my anxiety. (I’ll discuss the ways I cope in a different post.)
I did not have the best time in high school (or middle and elementary school.) This wasn’t because of the school work, but because of the other students!
I was bullied all throughout my school years, and the few people I considered my friends ended up being just as bad as the bullies. My “friends” would always end up having ulterior motives; they would always try to use me to get something they wanted.
This damaged my self esteem greatly and caused my to have trust issues. I have never gotten over it. Even today I find it extremely hard to trust people and open up to others. Because of this, I often find myself feeling isolated and just generally lonely.
People also tend to judge me as “cold and emotionless.” But I am truly the opposite of that. I would say the only people who know the real me are my parents, my sister, and my boyfriend. I don’t currently have any friends that I feel I can confide in and talk about my true thoughts and feelings.
I’ve never felt like I’ve fit in anywhere. I’ve always thought that everyone else was somehow better than me or more interesting. This feeling was amplified once I started college because I was now around people that I had never previously been exposed to before.
I have always looked forward to going to college. I’ve always loved school and always knew that I wanted to be a teacher one day, so naturally it made sense for me to continue my education.
But my college peers seemed to be so much more interesting than me. They had cool friends, cool stories, cool lives in general.
This sadness was amplified whenever I went to orientation, where I was forced to interact with people who you would “likely get along with.” (meaning they are just in the same major as you)
I was put into a group of girls who somehow all already knew each other. When we first got into our groups, they all had pleased looks on their faces and immediately ran to hug each other. As it turns out, all these girls went to high school together but somehow didn’t know they were all going to the same college (I’m not sure how this happens.)
They all started asking each other how they had been and I just stood there not knowing what to do. I just had an awkward half-smile and kept looking at the ground.
To summarize the rest of my orientation experience, it was all just as awkward as that first encounter.
I tried my hardest to not let those experiences get my down, but I couldn’t help but feel anxious about starting class. (Classes started one week after we had orientation.)
I just knew that I would have similar experiences in class. I was so scared and uncomfortable just thinking about being in those awkward situations that made me feel as if I was the weirdest and most unlikable person on the face of the Earth.
For that week after orientation, I struggled to remain positive about starting college. I had been looking forward to this my whole life and now that it was here, I wasn’t sure that I was ready for it.
The day came and I anxiously walked into my first class, English. The professor was very nice and the other students seemed to be just as nervous as I was. There was the slight anxiety that came with introducing myself to everyone, but even that didn’t seem to be so bad, since everyone else was nervous about it too.
I only had one other class that day and it was similar to my first class. I liked the professor and nothing happened that was too anxiety provoking.
On my way home, (I live with my parents and commute a hour each way) I thought about my day and all of my happiness surrounding college came back to me. I was excited and hopeful again! That first day of college was actually one of the best days of my life so far. I couldn’t believe I was finally in this stage of my life and I was so proud to have made it to that point.
When I got home that day I excitedly told my parents and boyfriend about my day and how happy I was. They were all very supportive and glad that I was enjoying college after I had such a tough time in high school.
To most people, one good day at school doesn’t seem like a big deal. But to me it meant everything. It gave me that burst of confidence that had been taken from me at orientation.
The following months were an exciting blur. They have been filled with many hard days but also some of the best days I’ve had so far.
That brings us to where I am now, almost at the end of my first semester is freshman year. I can’t believe it has gone by so fast! I have grown so much over these past few months and I can’t wait to see how much I continue to grow over the years.
I can say that I am completely happy with my life, I feel in control, my anxiety is at an all-time low! (I’ll talk more about this in another article.)Overall, orientation was the worst part of college for me, someone with lots of anxiety, so far.
If you struggle with anxiety just know that there will come a day when you will feel at peace. And if not, you will at least feel less anxious as time goes on and you become more comfortable with life.
Just know, you’ve got this! You are not alone and you can do anything you dream of.
If you have read this far thank you so much for your time! I’d love for you to comment any stories you have about your own anxiety or anything else you would like to say.
See you next Monday! Have a great rest of your day and week.