136222017Recently, I’ve had both friends and acquaintances tell me that I seem like the person who has everything together. The first time, I just laughed and shrugged it off. The second time, I was a bit more shocked, but didn’t really think anything of it. After the fifth and sixth time in a couple of weeks, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. How could ANYONE ever think that I have it all together? I could probably come up with fifteen mistakes I’ve made just this morning. I’m the Queen of dramatic and poor choices and use most of my productive time watching Netflix. However, having multiple and vastly different people look to me for guidance or inspiration or whatever made me look inside myself and wonder what motivates that feeling in them, other than what I can only imagine is drug addiction or sleep deprivation.

The last few months of my life could rival 2007 Britney, although I’m smart enough to know that I can’t pull off bald. I’ve gone through, or am still going through heartbreak, friend drama, family drama, overwhelming school stress, and such an absurd amount of responsibility due to my desperate need to please everyone. And we can’t forget my lovely car that has now broken down more times than I can count. For the most part, all of these things have come about because of my personal choices. Despite that, it all often seems so out of my control. Someone very close to my heart said something recently that I will never forget. “Nothing in your life is out of your control. It rarely is. Sit down and have a long talk with yourself. You will always figure it out.” We all know I’m not one for sappy quotes, but it’s true. And this applies to everyone.

College is such a difficult time because there are so many changes and responsibilities. You lose friends and gain friends, grow mentally and emotionally, and soon have to support yourself in the Real World. That last concept is one I have yet to get a firm grasp on and don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s truly amazing the amount of work expected from us on top of internships, jobs, student involvement, and still expecting time for fun and relaxing. Grown-ups (yes, I call them grown-ups because I’m not one yet) always say that you’ll miss college and life will be so much more difficult after graduation. I just don’t understand that sentiment. My schedule is so packed that sometimes, I have to choose between having my morning coffee or taking a shower. I’m ashamed to say that coffee usually wins. Not only do we all have these responsibilities, but we also have bills but no money, homework but no time, and never enough time to spend with our cats. Okay, maybe that last one is just me. The point is, this is some of the most difficult times in our lives and that needs to be appreciated and understood.

There a quote that says something like “Respect everyone. You never know who is fighting their own battle.” To me, the most meaningful word is “everyone”. That includes yourself. I’ve been told that I am, without question, my own worst enemy and the first one to expect the worst in myself. And, I’m sure I’m not the only one. Feeling that way is not self-respect.It is self-deprecation and will affect every single part of your life. Relationships, work, school, and friendships will all suffer with that attitude. So, knock it off. It might seem hypocritical to say, but it has to stop. I’m the first one to admit it in myself. I can say that I’ve lost more than I ever even knew I had because of this type of behavior and it’s painful.

Use stress and pain as motivators. Allow fear and heartbreak to create the best version of you. There are reasons that people look up to those with the most responsibility and pressure put upon them. It’s because they can handle it. You can handle it. The most important thing is to never handle it alone. There is ALWAYS someone there cheering you on, wanting to support you, and who appreciates you. Whether it’s a parent, sorority sister, professor, or even the one person you don’t hate in your group project, there is always someone. I promise someone is always there. And from personal experience, don’t waste that. Everyone is fighting their own battles and most would appreciate knowing they aren’t the only ones. Talk to someone. Make plans. Figure yourself out. You are the one in control of your own life. And just remember, Britney went from shaving her head and attacking people with an umbrella and had a number one album by 2011. If she can do it, so can you.

Contact the Counseling and Disability Services at (313) 593-5430 or in 2157 University Center.