Pledging. Midterms. Jobs. Volunteering. Extracurriculars. This is a trying time for students, and it feels as though everyone is having some sort of breakdown with the weight of school, or they have simply given up and are allowing their grades to take a dive off a cliff.
Walking around on campus, there are sunken faces which display the turmoil and strife occurring inside of a person, outwardly for all to see. Illness creeps into the population because of our stress, weakening immune systems and further lowering morale. How are students to cope during these tumultuous days?
Personally, I have healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms, including stuffing my face with candy, trying to rest, trying to prioritize my homework and studying, online shopping, fervently praying to God for comfort and guidance on my tests and remembering that I am not alone. Out of these, I believe the most important is prioritization and seeking God.
It can be easy to get swept up in my pledging activities and in my multiple jobs, especially since my brain to wired to give 100% of my effort into anything I am involved with. However, I have learned that not everything can have all of my attention all of the time; that mentality was dangerous and led me down a dark rabbit hole of despair.
Instead, I have to prioritize every hour of my life and keep my education at the forefront of my mind. Now that is not to say that I completely abandon every other responsibility in my life, but I now give everything else about 95% of my energy while I try to give school 98%. Yes, 98%, because I am worn down and need fall break to recover.
I am telling you right now, while I do try my hardest, keeping God in my life has opened doors for me to thrive. I am not trying to sound pious, but seriously, God can literally do anything and He can make a way for you to prosper because as He said, “I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. One night I was incredibly miserable and I just wanted to disappear, but then I was surrounded by my scrappy sisters who were also talking about their struggles and the realization that I was not alone turned my mood around. While it sounds messed up, being able to be miserable together lessens the misery, and can pull you out of a dark place.
I have also learned that keeping stress to yourself is not healthy, which is something I still struggle with, even writing this and exposing myself is something I would have never even thought of doing two years ago, but coming to ACU and being surrounded by people who love me and care about me is forcing me out of that shell of hiding how I am feeling.
You do not always have to seem put together and you do not have to plaster a smile on your face at all times. We are all going through something, and if you can find at least one person to confide in, do it. The more you attempt to bury your demons, the harder you will explode. If there is one thing I know first hand, it is how ugly your life can become once the anxiety and stress swallow you whole. Do not keep that ugliness inside.
While this is a trying time, we will get through it together. There is hope just over the horizon: Christmas break is only nine weeks away.