Everyone’s got an idea about what their freshman year of college will be like, but your ideas don’t always line up with what actually occurs. My freshman year didn’t line up with my academic ideas, but the people I met and the person I’ve grown into due to freshman year is something I’ll never regret.
As a sophomore at Penn State now, I can’t necessarily say I’m experienced, but I can definitely say I’ve learned and grown a significant amount since the previous year.
I came to Penn State with high hopes and excitement, ready to finally be away from the hot and humid South Florida, and ready to see a whole new side of the country. With my bag on my back, I was determined to make a success out of myself my first year; ready to become something great all in a matter of 9 months. But, academically, things didn’t go the way I expected it to.
Long story short; I flunked. The workload I put on myself that I assumed I could handle wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. And in the process of trying to achieve greatness at Penn State, I damn near lost my mind. Anxiety in regards to my grades consumed me and pulled me into darkness, putting me in a place where going to class wasn’t as important as wallowing in my misery of failure.
Yes, I know, sounds pretty terrible, right? But at the same time I felt the evils of anxiety pulling me in, I found a support system at Penn State that was willing to try to help me out of it. I’d made friend after friend through classes, social events, and even just on my way to and from my destinations, and these friends always held my hand tight when I felt like I was drowning.
Whether it was helping me with my workload or just getting me out of bed, these friends only wished the best for me and allowed me to change my opinion on the world as a whole. As a person who didn’t believe in the good in people, I’d made a myriad of friends who only wished me well and wanted me to succeed.
And even in my state of confusion as to how I’d found so many good people in one place, I’d found a way to socially grow and change my opinion on the world around me. Academically I was in a dark place, but personally I’d never held so much self-confidence and love in who I was and what I believed in. My friends loved me because I was me, and I actually believed them.
Now, mind you, I still had my dark days. There were days where I would refuse to get out of bed and I’d hated everything I was, but the days my friends would finally pull me out of my cave turned out to be some of the best days of my life; these were the days where even if my sanity wasn’t all there, I was flourishing in life and love.
I’d finished my freshman year in a deep pile of quicksand, something I didn’t think I would ever get myself out of. And even though I’ve got a long way to go (and a lot more classes to make up), I can now say that I have been able to sit down and find the help I need to be the best person I can be and not let my anxiety get in the way.
Yes, freshman year was not what I ever expected it to be, but as a sophomore now I can say that I am more than my anxiety, I am more than my insanity, I am me. I am the best me I’ve ever been in a long time, and I would have never learned to be the ultimate me if it wasn’t for freshman year.
So to cap this long sappy story, I just want to say to you freshman; it’s okay. Things will be hard, and you will be afraid sometimes. But freshman year is the year you’ll learn the most about yourself, whether you end the spring semester with all A’s or all F’s (but seriously, strive for the A’s.)
Am I sane now? No, I’ve still got my sanity to work on. But in all my anxiety-filled years of high school I never thought I’d get the help I need and become a person who I ultimately love and adore (a little conceited, I know.) But that’s okay. It’s all in a day’s work of love, life, and the pursuit of sanity.