It’s over. The semester is finally over. I’m not sure how many cups of coffee I drank or boxes of tissues I’ve been through in the past 18 weeks, but I know it’s enough to make me question my good judgement. Finals are finally over! I’m surprised I can even remember my name after all the information I’ve hammered into my brain in the past couple of days.
I’ve had fun of course, but I have to be honest: this semester was hard. I joke now about the boxes of tissues, but truly I found myself crying more than I usually do (and boy, that’s a lot!). Everything just felt so overwhelming all the time. At times I didn’t know whether I was going to make it to the finish line or if I’d have an emotional breakdown in the dining hall.
All I had ever heard in high school were the stories of the great parties and the amazing friends people make in college. No one ever talked about the struggles of getting up for that 8am class. No one mentioned only getting six hours of sleep over three days because your homework was never ending. No one ever talked about the reality of college. Sometimes college can suck. More often than not, you find yourself wanting to give up.
Over 30% of college undergraduates report showing signs of depression. While almost 50% of undergraduates reported having multiple episodes of serious suicidal thoughts. Let’s break down these numbers. There are 34,000 students attending my university. So this means that about 10,000 other students have been feeling the exact same way I have.
It’s hard to face the truth, but here it is: college (including every 8am class, exam, essay, and final) is challenging. You will want to give up every morning the alarm goes off. You will question if it’s even worth it. So what is the point? College is stressful, but it is the little moments in between all the chaos make it all worth it. Joining a new sorority and meeting the girls you call your new family makes it worth it. Sharing a new memory with your new friend from across the country over lunch makes it worth it. Feeling the support of family pushing you through to the end makes it worth it. Even staying in your dorm on a Friday night sharing laughs and Christmas movies with your roommate makes it worth it. It’s all worth it.
Life is full of beauty, tragedy, heartache, and love. Without the challenges of life, we would never know how amazing everything in the world really is. This semester has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but if I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing.