When I started my freshman year at UP, I was so excited to make new friends, take interesting classes, go to parties and just be in college.
Growing up, I was always very outgoing and pretty independent. I was never one of the kids to cry when my parents dropped me off at kindergarten, I just wanted to go make friends and have fun.
So, on the day my mom and dad left me at UP to fly back home to California, I didn’t cry. I hugged them tight and promised I’d call them every week (and text them everyday per my mom’s request). I went on with my day and went out with my new friends that night.
Everything was fun and exciting, until one day it wasn’t anymore. I was on the phone with my mom talking about what color raincoat I should get, when all of a sudden, I couldn’t stop crying.
The excitement of being somewhere new had started to fade away as I found a routine and I suddenly started missing my parents, my dogs, the sunshine and everything I knew.
At first, I figured it was just the usual homesickness that pretty much everyone feels when they go to college. My family told me that it would be okay; my brother and sister went through the exact same thing. It’s normal, it’ll go away. They said by the end of fall break I’d be sick of being home, and want to come back here. But, that wasn’t the case.
I started to realize it was something more than homesickness when I would find myself crying for no reason, basically all the time.
Even if it was sunny, even if I was surrounded by my amazing new friends, I just felt sad and empty, and not like my usual bubbly self. And I didn’t know why.
I was scared to tell anyone, because I didn’t want my parents to worry about me more than they already did, and I didn’t want to admit to myself that something more than homesickness was going on. I didn’t want there to be something “wrong” with me. The term “depressed” was a label I wasn’t ready to have.
I kept it to myself for a long time, until one day I couldn’t anymore.
It was on Thanksgiving when it all came out. I was having one of those sad for no reason days, and I started crying while peeling the potatoes. I told my mom and dad that I was scared, something was wrong with me, and I didn’t know what to do. But they did know what to do. They heard me, held me, found someone for me to talk to while I’m home and I began going to counseling here at school too.
Once I started going to counseling here, I saw so many of my friends in the waiting room. There was kind of a silent understanding of “You too?” I realized then that just because something was wrong, it didn’t mean something was wrong with me.
What I’m trying to say is, if you know something is wrong, don’t wait to ask for help. I felt this way for basically the entire first semester, and I regret not telling anyone sooner, because once I did, everything got so much better.
There are so many people and resources that are there to help you, so don’t struggle on your own. Call your parents, a friend or the Health and Counseling Center. I promise it gets better, but not until you acknowledge it.