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Everyone is struggling

| Tuesday, September 26, 2017

While you are in school, it can be so easy to sink into a feeling of being the least prepared, the least intelligent and that you are not handling responsibilities with the ease everyone else seems to. Personally, this feeling always sets in around the fourth or fifth week of school, when I typically have my first test or big paper due and I wonder why nobody else seems to be struggling as much as I am. While I am in my room panicking about a simple five-question quiz, all my friends and roommates are finished with their homework and relaxing or enjoying themselves on campus. It was not until recently that I really started to think about why I seem to struggle so much more than everyone else during fall semester, and why nobody but me is grappling with a bout of FOBAF: fear of being a failure.

The past week of the semester has been my most difficult so far: I had two tests and a quiz on one day, two photography assignments due the next, a shift at one of my two jobs each day this week, along with meetings for the two organizations I am a member of. I know to a lot of people that sounds perfectly manageable, and in all fairness, if I were better with time management, it would be but I was still extremely stressed out. My already tough week came to a shrieking crash on Wednesday morning. I had not been sleeping for two weeks due to being sick, so one of my roommates gave a medication to help put me to sleep, and boy howdy, did it do its job. I woke up for my 9:00 a.m. test at 9:30 a.m., and my day only worsened from there. I forgot about one of my assignments, studied the wrong chapter for my quiz and ended the night crying in my room, wondering why I found adjusting to a new school year to be so much harder than everyone I knew. It wasn’t until I had a talk with my roommates the next morning that I realized: we are all struggling and we all hide it, because we think we are the only ones. There is such an illusion of ease placed on everyone you are friends with, because we all work so hard to keep up our image of having it together. While I was in my room wondering how all my friends had it so easy, they were all by themselves, working on various assignments, wondering the same about me.

Starting a new school year is hard for everybody, whether it’s your first day in college or you have to give up sleeping to work on a senior thesis. Just because we don’t let anybody see us struggling during late night meltdowns or when we start to doubt if we’re smart enough to finish our degree, I guarantee you, everyone is coping the same as you: no more, no less. I only wish I had realized it sooner.

 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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