Letter #107

Content Warnings: COVID-19, academic anxiety, anxiety, depression


Dear Reader,


College has been tough for me. As I get closer and closer to graduation, I find myself reflecting on my journey more often. As a freshman during the COVID pandemic, especially with my first semester being remote and at home, I really struggled mentally with this transition. I doubted myself a lot, and I felt worse when I got my grades back at the end of the semester and didn’t do as well as I thought I should have. It was so tough to make friends, and I was hoping that being on campus the next semester would really help me feel better mentally and improve my grades. I made great friends—who I am still close with today—but my grades suffered.


Having been considered an “overachiever” in high school, I really didn’t know how to deal with the academic rigors of college. I lacked good studying habits, was extremely depressed, have always been anxious, and couldn’t find the energy to get out of bed. This continued through my sophomore year. I felt deep imposter syndrome, not feeling like I belonged at all. The extreme stress I was feeling manifested as legitimate health issues. My junior year, with the support of the people around me, I worked really hard to improve my study habits. My grades ended up a lot better, but I still felt so sad. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.


Now as a senior, I can honestly say that I continue to see the results of having worked hard to improve myself. But I constantly still feel like it was too little too late, and I don’t have anything to show for how hard I worked because of my earlier struggles. I don’t feel proud of myself despite knowing how hard I’ve worked because I am attaching my happiness to a future goal that I haven’t achieved yet. Not every day is tough. Some days are good, but I find that my mood fluctuates throughout the day. I tend to feel the saddest at night, when all my pent-up thoughts weigh me down.


I outwardly say that I don’t have regrets about the decisions I have made in my life, but I know deep inside that I have regrets everyday. Lately, seeing most of my friends succeed in the paths they have chosen has me feeling extremely conflicted inside. I am genuinely so happy for them, but at the same time I can’t help but inwardly compare myself. I will never voice these thoughts out loud because my friends are not responsible for my insecurities, and I know I have no right to make them feel guilty when they have done nothing wrong. Sometimes, I am able to frame this positively, that one day my turn will also come because I am working towards it. But, more than often, I feel absolutely critical of myself. I feel that for the past few months my depression and anxiety has gotten worse because of it. I don’t want to consistently be mean to myself, but I am. I don’t know when this will change. I want to be positive, but right now, I can’t.

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