Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dealing with panic in college

(as told thru The Office quotes because how else?)

Syllabus week is over, the realization that pre-med (or engineering, or nursing, or whatever major you have!)  is REALLY hard sets in, and the awful thought of failure looms. No matter how many people offer advice, you head off to college expecting the best, only to come to a rude awakening in the second week.

I thought I was smart. I had over 36 dual credit hours, a 31 on the ACT, shadowed doctors, wrote research papers on trauma surgery, and  took notes while I watched Call the Midwife (much more accurate than Grey's)

So, when by the second week I was feeling very ill,(turns out it was viral respiratory infection) had endured a tornado scare (only a few months after surviving one), consoling my new friends from Houston as their homes flooded, got lost, was writing lab reports like a crazed girl, sick of dining halls and had no idea what to do in math class, I was exhausted and panicked. Why was I, a little homeschooler, taking 18 hours at on of the most prestigious pre-medical colleges? What if I had misread His plan and God didn't want me here? Why was everything so much harder here?

I didn't want to call my mom, who is my best friend/personal counselor, because I knew I would cry like a big whiny baby. So I waited and let my fear build up.

When she called, I sounded like Michael Scott when the office is "on fire". I tried to stay calm and instead just ended up yelling and sobbing. WHOOPS. (sorry for freaking you out bff)

But my mom is an ACTUAL GENIUS (3 degrees, y'all) and talked me through things.

Here's some advice I've learned from my experience.

  1.  Go to bed 'early' at least twice a week. I had to scramble to get school work done.  Try to get to bed by 11:45 on the days you have 8 ams. You don't have to stay up late just because it seems like everyone else is. Going out once a week is normal, every night is not.
  2. Don't be "ON" all the time. I have made so many new friends these past two weeks and I felt like I needed to be there for them all the time. If they needed someone to walk to the restaurants, eat lunch so they weren't alone, pick up a book in the library, study with, I wanted to help. If their roommates were bad, they could vent to me! I also volunteered for lots of missions and groups. This isn't always great. Make sure you take time for yourself and get your own needs met. Put your oxygen mask on before helping others, right?
  3. GO TO THE CAMPUS DOCTOR. If you feel sick, don't wait it out. Go when you have the time. Because chances are, if you're at a 'real' school, you don't get any absences. I am so glad I went and got my antibiotic instead of suffering through it. Viral respiratory infection, high fever and a heart flutter won't just vanish because you have school. Also, get lots of rest. Walking miles  across campus with a heavy backpack + not eating nutritious meals + basically living in a petri dish is not ideal for maintaining health.  Don't wait until you reach this stage:

4. Go to tutoring, SI, ask friends and profs for help. My college has tons of free tutoring options. I went to SI once, the tutor was awful, and I gave up. Bad idea. You don't have to stick with the weird dude aggressively fidget spinning (seriously!) I went to the Math Lab, asked a friend for help, and studied lots. I still don't get everything, but thanks to Wyatt in the Math Lab I understand functions a whole lot better.

5. Spiritual life/counting your blessings. I know everyone reading this may not be a Christian, but for me personally I find that it really helps to pray and read some Scripture, especially my life verse Philippians 1:6.  I also try thinking of all my blessings when I feel down. I love my roomie. I have made lots of friends. Most of my classes  are pretty easy to  understand. Just being at college is a huge opportunity that I am so grateful for.  At Baylor, each lamp post is in memory of a serviceman or woman who attended Baylor and was KIA. Whenever I feel lazy or like giving up, there's one I  read that talks about a boy my age, who left Baylor to serve. He stayed with his crashed plane for hours, shooting back at enemies who tried to get to the ammo the plane was carrying. He eventually died from wounds caused by the crash. How much more courage did fighting back take than me just getting out of bed to go to my 8 am? 

6. Talk to someone! Call your mom or dad, talk to your friends, share what you're struggling with. Don't go it alone. Often they have good ideas that can help. Don't isolate yourself in a little bubble.

Well, that's all for tonight, friends! Make good choices tomorrow!

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