Going off to college is really hard when you’re depressed. My freshman year was just a constant fluctuation of mental health that made the transition from home to Waco way harder than it should have been, and that transition is already so hard as is.
During the first few weeks, my French class became my safe haven. It was the only class I had every day, it was the one I most excelled at, and it was definitely my favorite. And for that fifty minutes I could stop my brain from panicking over some anxiety or another and stop worrying about how I was sure that no one liked me and just speak poor first-semester-level French.
Looking back I hate that there was no other place or person that made me as happy as one of my classes. Classes are still one of my favorite parts about being in college, but no student should have so little fun outside the classroom that it becomes the most enjoyable part of their college experience. Now my happiest moments are rarely in class, they’re the times I spend with friends making midnight runs to our local Czech bakery or with my roommate making fun of Corrine as we watch The Bachelor together.
Fortunately all of the Title IX drama at Baylor last year resulted in a complete revamp of the counseling center. They hired more counselors, expanded, eventually moved to a different building, and–mostly importantly–made all of their services free. I’m always reluctant to see a new counselor, and I’m always reluctant to try to put my anxieties into words, but I knew that I needed help. I went in for my initial screening and was assigned a hilarious older woman with bright red hair named Lauri.
So I started the healing process. I told Lauri my problems, I found a boyfriend that I thought helped me deal with everything, and I grew more confident in myself little by little. Of course said relationship ended up doing more harm than good, but more on that later. I distanced myself from the friends back home that made me worse, and I surrounded myself with new amazing friends who made me better.
By the end of the fall semester I was doing so much better. I was finally starting to feel really happy, and I hated the thought of leaving campus for winter break. Baylor finally felt like it was where I belong. Then I went home, and reconnected with a few old friends that really weren’t good for me, and I started to get worse again. Returning for the spring semester, my relationship grew more toxic and some drama unfolded that affected my friend group, all adding to my anxiety, and my mental health just kept getting worse.
I really don’t know at what point I started to get better again. It honestly might not have been until a few weeks into the summer, but I like to think it was somewhere toward the end of the semester. I do know that all of the spring semester, even as my depression worsened, Baylor never stopped feeling like home, and never again did I question the fact that God placed me there.
Now I’m in a better place. I know that dark times will come again, because they always do. But I learned so much in the past year that I think I’m more prepared for it. Going off to college is really hard when you’re depressed, but it’s so worth it.