I’m in College! It’s the Time of My Life! Or Is It?

You’ve gone to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought the right mattress topper. You’ve crammed all of your stuff into your parents’ car. You hugged your little sister and your dog goodbye. You went through orientation. You’ve got a roommate. You’ve found your classes, bought your books, and have found the best tacos on campus. Things at college seem to be rolling along. It’s the time of your life!

Mostly.

And then it’s not.

Maybe you’re out of clean laundry. Maybe the weather is starting to turn. Maybe you didn’t get the grade you thought you would get on your first test.

So you go on Instagram to reconnect with old friends. Everything seems to be great for them. They’re taking selfies with their new college friends. Everyone is smiling. Life is good! You get texts from home. Your family loves you and they’re proud of you. They know you can do it!

But late at night, you know you’re alone. You know everything really depends on you this time. You feel like a fraud. And that feels incredibly lonely. You might be disappointed that you’re not best friends with your roommate or that the classes you wanted to take aren’t what you thought they’d be. Your college campus might be really hilly and you’re sick of having to walk everywhere. You forgot an umbrella at home and you’re too down to go buy one. You might be running through money way faster than you had planned.

You are not alone. This happens to everyone. It’s something called The W-Curve. Basically, it tells you that you go through positive and negative phases during your adjustment to college. Things are exciting at first and then they’re not. You can read more about the W-curve here: https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-w-curve-theory.

The good news is, things do get better. What can help you right now? Basic self care: make sure you’re eating right (a vegetable won’t kill you), getting enough sleep, and exercising. Take your vitamins too. Just like when you were in kindergarten, all those germs get exchanged over the first few weeks of school and everyone seems to get a cold about a month into school. If your school brings in therapy dogs during midterms, go ahead and give one of them a cuddle.

Soon enough, you’ll be home for a midterm break or for Thanksgiving. Believe it or not, it might feel weird to be back. Your relationships with high school friends and your family may have changed and you might find yourself longing to go back “home”–back to college.

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