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Struggles of a College Student



This summer has been quite eventful for me. I completed my first college class (English 110/ Composition I) in the spring semester and got an "A". I then took English 111 (Composition II) this summer and just got my grades and found out that I passed with another "A". Both classes I doubted my abilities and constantly worried that I wasn't doing a good enough job. Others kept telling me that I was doing fine and that there was nothing to worry about. Every paper, every assignment was the same. I'd work hard on it, but never felt like it was good enough when I turned it in and then would wait anxiously for it to be graded. It was a big relief both times when I got my final grade for each class. Why can't I feel confident in my abilities? This is a problem in other areas too. I never feel like I am good enough, in my music playing, being a friend, or just day-to-day life.

I have an exciting future ahead starting in August. I'll be moving into the student housing on campus, be a full-time student and even got a part-time job at the college. I'm thrilled about it all and can hardly wait for next month, but at the same time I've started having thoughts creep in, causing self-doubt and fear of failure to raise their ugly heads. It all seems to good to be true, almost unreal and I start to feel that it's not going to happen, or I'm going to fail at the new job and/or classes. I begin to doubt my ability to become a sign language interpreter. Who am I to think that I can actually interpret professionally?! I have this fear that my mind is just going to go blank and that I will forget everything. I fear that I won't be able to keep up in the classes or do the assignments. I'm scared that I won't be able to handle the job, helping students write their papers. I feel like I am reaching beyond my capabilities. That it is just a dream that will turn to ashes.

I know these thoughts aren't the truth and are just there to discourage me from reaching for a better life. I have friends and family that are cheering me on and are confident that I will do well. My professors thought that I'd do well at the job and wrote letters of recommendation for me. So why do I struggle with these feelings/thoughts so much?

On top of it all, I have still been struggling with depression, which then makes me feel guilty. With all of these good things happening, shouldn't I just be happy? I continue to see my counselor to help get grounded. I also have just started to see a doctor to see if I need more than just counseling to help with the depression. The doctor is also trying to figure out why I am in so much physical pain all of the time (that doesn't help with the depression!). I'm supposed to get some blood work done as she is checking to see if I have rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia among other things. Just going to see the doctor in the first place was a huge step for me.

And yet I can see that I have made progress in my healing from my past. A couple of weeks ago I had an encounter with a fellow student at the campus. I was working on an assignment before time to go to my class and was in a student lounge area. I had tried to get a bag of chips from the vending machine, but they got stuck and wouldn't come down. A guy was standing behind me waiting to use the machine. In the past I would have started to panic with him standing there, but I did ok and even laughed with him at the chips hanging there. I finally gave up and got something else before going over to a table to set up my laptop and get working. He left, but then came back and started talking to me. I've been trying to be more sociable with guys as my counselor has been reminding me that while there are some out there that are bad, not ALL guys are bad. He wound up sitting at my table and we chatted some about our classes. I was doing ok, though since I was sitting in a corner I felt slightly trapped, but not too bad. Also, people would walk by, so it wasn't like we were totally isolated. Then he mentioned that he like my feet and started going on about how beautiful they were. THAT was starting to creep me out a little, but again, I wasn't panicking. Next thing I knew, he was saying that he'd like to get together sometime and he could give me a foot massage. I drew the line there and told him that would make me totally uncomfortable. I then said that I really need to finish my assignment and he took the hint and left.  Not too long after some of my classmates started arriving and my thoughts were turned to our class. 

The fact that I didn't totally freak out and have a full-blown panic attack shows that I've made progress. I think the main thing that helped was that I knew there were people around that I could get help from if needed. When I discussed it with my counselor, she said that I handled it great, that I set a clear boundary. I'd worried that maybe I should talk to the school counselor about it, but she said that since he respected my boundary and left that I didn't need to. Now if he had stayed and still bothered me, then maybe I'd need to get someone else involved.

Thankfully the guys in my summer class were great and I enjoyed interacting with them and had no struggles. I hope to continue to form healthy casual friendships with guys, especially as I'll be around a lot more of them while living in the student housing.

Enough ramblings for tonight. Here's to a dawn of new future.  


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