Yahoo! You have finally made it into college and are full of excitement about the wonderful possibilities that await you. The future looks bright and the world is your oyster. The doors have been blown open to a seemingly limitless array of positive new adventures: new friends, new knowledge, new romance, new fun, new career, or even the shaping of a new personal identity. Success is there for the taking!
But things do not always go according to plan. Or at least, not how you thought they were supposed to go. And while college is undoubtedly a time when many hopes and dreams are fulfilled, just as commonly, it is a time of having to face up to various disappointments and limitations. Ouch.
So, career choices may need to be reconsidered due to lower than expected grades. Friendships and romantic relationships may end due to betrayal or insurmountable conflicts. Despite your best efforts, it might be hard to find a job. And, instead of finding yourself, you may become more confused about who you are and what you want to do.
At such times, you may end up feeling overly discouraged, stressed, overwhelmed or lost. It might feel harder to cope and you might feel like giving up. Maybe you find yourself drinking more, or experimenting with drugs. Or you might find that in many ways you just do not feel like your normal self, or that your emotions feel out of control. Rest assured that you are not going crazy. But, you might be suffering from significant depression, anxiety or other mental health symptoms.
This may be a scary new experience, or one you have dealt with in the past. In either case, you are not alone. A recent national survey of college students conducted by the American College Health Association found that at least once during the school year, 93% of students felt overwhelmed, 91% felt exhausted, 79% felt sad, 63% felt hopeless, and 45% felt so depressed that it was difficult to function.
Unfortunately, data also show that many college students who are distressed do not seek counseling or support from others. Oftentimes this is due to the common, but erroneous, myth that anyone with mental health struggles is defective or weak or crazy. Actually, the truth is just the opposite. Those who decide to seek counseling show thereby that they possess good self-awareness, decision making and courage in getting the help that they need.
Besides, counseling helps. Research shows that the majority of people who receive counseling improve to some extent, and much faster than if they tried to handle things on their own? So why continue to suffering unnecessarily? If you find yourself struggling, consider making an appointment to see one of our professional counselors at Health and Wellness Services as soon as possible. It may end of being one of the best experiences of your college career.
By: Scott Kadera - psychologist