Rated REAL: The Unspoken Struggles…

I’ll start with my own story.
When I started college 8 months ago, I believed I had everything figured out. I thought I was smarter and more successful than everybody in the college I attend, simply because I run a well-known up and coming blog, and some could say I was semi-famous in Chicago. I got to college, and immediately didn’t like it. 
I was homesick, and I couldn’t seem to fit into the social scene of this new environment. For a person who was usually independent and thought she had everything figured out, this new found doubt was like a slap in the face. On top of that, EVERYTHING that could have went wrong in my life DID, like a domino effect. Every week it was something new such as…
  • My relationships with my parents declined
  • I was no longer financially independent
  • I lost friends
  • Relatives died
  • And I landed on academic probation.
From August until now, a lot of things happened, a lot of which I can honestly say I brought upon myself. I landed in a deep depression, that I’m just now starting to break. While I’ve came to terms and forgiven most of what has happened, It’s still some some struggles I face, that I’m sure many of us face. See, most people think a college student’s struggle only has to do with being able to pay for books or not but it goes beyond that. The struggle of a college student is not only financial, but psychological and social as well.
Let’s be real. Not too many of us come from families where they have resources to support our futures. Using the example of myself, I came from a single parent home. Though I never lived in a two parent home, my mom and dad worked a few jobs to support me in life, but when it came to college, we were not prepared. The true colors about your family’s financial situation always comes out when you decide to go to college. Your parents will not always be able to help you. Not because they don’t want to, but simply because they can’t. They have to survive too, with bills and other responsibilities that surpass the importance of you, and unfortunately, the things that you need are minuscule. Taking it even further, say if you land on academic probation like myself. The consequence of that is I ended up losing a grant and a loan from my financial aid. I’m also unemployed. I can’t go to my family members and pay out of pocket for school, especially for fucking up grades wise. On the other hand, even if you make good grades in college, I know for a fact your financial situation isn’t easy. Your GPA can be perfect, but financial aid can give you absolutely nothing. Your parents may even make enough money to pay out of pocket, but with the way this economy is set up, it’s practically impossible due to bills, mortgages, etc. So yes, you’ll find yourself stressing wondering how you’re gonna get a job, and how you’re gonna pay for your books, and how you’re gonna eat, or participate in certain events. 
As if struggling financially wasn’t enough, I found myself struggling socially as well.
College is definitely a socially catastrophic environment. I have watched the greatest friendships fall apart, the  greatest relationships come together, and everything in between. If you’ve never truly been on your own before, you will feel like an outcast in college. I’m not sure about the female and male experience, but I do know that both genders feel socially pressured when they enter into college. If you’re slightly socially awkward like me, you may find yourself able to make “friends” easily, and thrive in most social settings, however you still feel alone, or you may feel like you don’t belong. Switching gears a bit, roommate issues can affect you socially as well. You and your roommate could have been the closest friends, but things change. Instead of growing together, ya’ll can grow apart. It can be due to the fact that ya’ll don’t get along, or it could be a simple misunderstanding that escalates. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up friendless due to one or both factors. It is often said that we don’t need people to make us happy, but psychology has proven that to be a lie. A basic human need is to feel accepted, to feel like we belong to someone or something, and if we don’t fit the norm, we are ostracized and isolated. People think college is about parties and social events to meet people but how can you enjoy those things if you’re a loner, with no close friends that you trust to make your high school to college transition easier? Whoever said you find some of your best  friends in college only told a half truth, because it’s not easy navigating through a university full of lost souls just like you.
Here’s the biggest issue of college that no one likes to talk about, the psychological struggle of course.
Mentally, none of us are prepared for college and honestly, there is no piece of advice that can be given to prepare us. For me, college has been nothing but trial and error when it comes to figuring out stuff. Whenever a situation came up, I had to figure out a way to handle it, and sometimes it may have not been the best way.  I wasn’t prepared at all for the adversity I would face, and the depression that resulted because of it. I become an insomniac and a chronic isolationist. It got so bad that I would do nothing except go to class and come back to my room. I would barely eat, I stopped going out, and I wouldn’t socialize with anyone. I had always considered myself a strong person, but for some reason, I had become really broken mentally. I considered doing everything from transferring schools to dropping out of college all together. I just wanted to give up. And I was very, very, very close to doing so. People don’t realize that a person can be taken care of financially, excel socially, but have deep issues psychologically. Depression can and will hinder you if you let it, but if you are lucky enough to avoid any psychological distress during your first year in college, then dammit I need your secret. Honestly though, psychological distress is inevitable, whether it’s minor or major. I do know that talking about what you’re facing can help, whether it’s to a shrink (something I haven’t tried yet) or to someone you trust (something I do on the regular). Psychological issues are often looked past, but I really believe we need to start acknowledging them, so we can manage them, before they spiral out of control.
Despite the financial, social, and psychological issues we face in our first year of college and beyond, I feel as  if they strengthen us, because they’ve definitely strengthened me, and I’m glad.
Could some situations been handled better? Definitely.
Should I have made some of the choices I made? Probably not.
Would I change any of the lessons I was forced to learn? Absolutely not.
In your life, you are going to struggle, that is one of the few things in life that is promised to us. However, I’ve learned that struggle is necessary for success. You’ll struggle some, but never for long. For example: Just because I’m not financially stable now doesn’t mean I always will be. Just because I’m on academic probation now doesn’t mean I’ll never get off. And just because I’ve battled depression before, doesn’t mean I’ll be depressed for the rest of my life.
Ya’ll don’t understand how tired I am of seeing people like myself come into college thinking that they have it all, and know even more, and acting like struggle isn’t supposed to exist. Regardless of your race, gender, or ethnicity, struggle happens to all of us, for various reasons. The ultimate goal of struggle is not to weaken us, but to make us champions in the end.
 So now that I’ve shared my story with you, what’s yours?
What are some of your unspoken struggles?
How did you overcome them, or how do you plan to?

And as always…

5 thoughts on “Rated REAL: The Unspoken Struggles…

  1. I feel you & sadly in many high schools throughout the nation do not prep you or teach about potential financial issues, distractions other than on the social scene & trials or tribulations..they just say "its a better opportunity"…not everyone is made for college my parents told me focus on grades & simply manage your time at its best & its all a responsibility at the end of the day….College may not be a right out of high school direction for many..Some need the funding first & time then go back My unspoken struggle is an out of work college grad & trying to find work..its been too long for me to be out of work..I know once I get a job it will solve the investing in my brand,dating & buy the things I like..so many ppl abandoned me & stop calling & done me wrong since I stopped working fam/friendsI've overcame with my blog,writing & mentally stimulating books to read. Staying confident & thinking positive through reading,parents,close friends & my TrapRock Radio team..So I just think of ALL good things & do more than I did yesterday job hunting wise & think of all who denied & don't believe in me

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  2. Maaan I feel u on that n those struggles u mention determine whether some kifs say ef f it n come back home or tough iy out! Me evem tho I stayed home for skool I felt weird too for most my first semester cus I didmt wanna mess wit nobody! But evenyually I did n I enjoy hell outta my social life at columbiaAt same time it helps alotta ppl if they hav a spiritual relatiobship wit God. That feelin of knowin every thibg will be alrite n to avoid certain temptations n sense of loneliness will end cus God will lead u to right ppl lead u jobs n financial help..but at same time not everybody is me..or others I kno

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  3. You know my struggles! Something i sought out was a close relationship to God and I received cognitive therapy where my thinking was basically altered. Learning to let things go and move on towards the big goal is what's most important. I lost plenty of "friends", support, and my mind overall but i saw everything as a test of my strength. And with that said i have a few more months before i receive my first degree and honey nothing and nobody is stopping me!

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  4. Even though I'm in my early 40's, I can still remember College and what that experience was like. I promise that it gets better as you learn your independence and what that truly means. 18 years old may make you an adult in age, but most young people that age really have no idea what being independent is all about and College sort of throws you into that without warning. Some people make good choices and some do not. As a parent, the best things we can do to help in this process are: let you live your own life, let you make your own choices, and let you learn to clean up your own messes. Of course because we are parents, we will still give our opinion when we want to! :-)All parents wish they had the money to take away that burden of your College experience, but what you say is true about the reality of life. No matter how much money you make in life, you always spend more. Most parents are not saving for their kids to go to College because they simply CAN'T. It's hard to prioritize saving for College, which could be years away, when you have pressing and immediate financial pressures.Still with all of that being said, parents who have been through it themselves, totally understand. Don't shut us out! Tell us when you're overwhelmed, when your grades are slipping, when you're just plain hungry, sad, or lonely. We are there to be your most loyal supporters and cheerleaders.You are a smart young woman, Kia, and I am very, very proud of the person that you are. It's been a tough 8 months for you, but you've shown yourself and everyone around you that you have resilience, drive, and determination. Continue on that path and nothing can stop you! And I'll be here when you need me….for always.

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  5. I just want to thank you all for reading, and special thanks for commenting and sharing your struggles. I feel that once we can talk about them, we realize that they are not that bad, and we realize that our adversities can be FAR worse… You all are very strong people! Thanks to everyone who has been in my corner during my difficult times, I love and appreciate you more than you all could know.

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