College is supposed to be the best four-ish years of your life. It is the time for making friends and memories and establishing yourself as an adult – sort of. But before you can do any of that, you have to understand who you are and what you represent.
This is not an easy task; I speak from experience.
When I graduated high school, I did it without my three best friends. One of them moved to California, and two of them decided they did not want to be friends anymore. I had never felt more alone and worthless. I became incredibly depressed and with freshman year on the horizon, I was not feeling confident.
As excited as I was to leave the cul-de-sac of my small hometown, it turned out the school I picked was not the best one for me. I did not fit in with other students. It felt like the whole town of West Chester was against me.
I knew I could not stay this way, so I began to plan my transfer and started going to therapy. It was really scary knowing I was going to move to yet another new place. Even scarier, I was going to be opening up about my mental struggles to a complete stranger.
My therapist was a man who closely resembled Mr. Crocker from the Fairly Odd Parents. However, he knew how to help me, and if it were not for him, I do not know how I would have escaped the grasps of my “Dub-C Depression.”
I left West Chester with a smile and a clear image of the person I was becoming. I started from rock bottom, and now I am at the top of the rock.
When I arrived at Slippery Rock at the start of my junior year, after a year at the University of Pittsburgh, I was ready to be the best I could be. And I was; I had a 4.0 GPA, more friends than I made combined in my previous two schools, and an eagerness to learn and further explore the world.
It was not an easy journey to where I am now. What was most difficult to me was to learn to love myself and find happiness with who I am, even when I was not at my best. Ru Paul says it best, “If you can’t love yourself, then how can you love somebody else?!”
Loving yourself is not easy. There is no 10-step program to help you on your way. Every person is different, so there is no one right way to feel confident in yourself. Some ways to help are:
Get help. If you have a problem that you feel is over your head, talk to someone! There is always someone who can and will help you. Even in the darkest corner of the world, I found a complete stranger who was on my side.
Put yourself first. This was the hardest thing for me to do because I am always worried about how the people around me are feeling. You will begin to feel much better when you start to put your own happiness at equal importance with everyone else’s.
Try not to overwhelm yourself. I know, this sounds ridiculous, but do not take on more than you can handle. Do not be afraid to say no or admit that you just cannot handle it!
When you learn how to love yourself, you see the world as a better place and become more open to what it has to offer. Believe it or not, the is a world outside of Slippery Rock. And while we love the Rock, we will see what else the world (a really big rock) has in store for us.