Originally Posted: Feb 13, 2016
Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016
Breakups suck. Full stop. They even suck if you’re the one doing the leaving. Here, one college student shares her breakup story and how she found support on campus to get through it.
I thought I had everything under control when I went to college. There’s no way I’ll ever fall for that! I’d say to myself as I read a college prep guide on Pinterest of freshman pitfalls. You might say I was overly excited and prepared for college to begin.
For the majority of my freshman year, I enjoyed college as much if not more than I thought I would. In fact, the first regular week of classes, I met a boy, and within the first month of college I was in my first serious relationship, like so many college students.
He was in his mid-20s, a transfer student with a complicated background, and I was a wide-eyed, 19-year-old freshman. But I realized I enjoyed being in a relationship so much that I began to neglect my friends and, ultimately, my true self. I was trying to change myself to fit his expectations of me, when ultimately he wasn’t the right person for me at all.
About a month before I would ultimately break up with him, I began to experience terrible anxiety. How am I going to break up with him? Do I even want to break up with him? What if after I break up with him I realize I have made a terrible mistake? Can I really hurt him? How can I live without him? I actually began experiencing panic attacks. It wasn’t until this boy and I went to my hometown for a weekend to see my high school’s musical that I realized I wasn’t being true to myself by being with him and ultimately gained the courage to break up with him.
But even though I knew it was the right thing to do, the months following my breakup were still terrible. I began hating myself for doing something that was so necessary because I hated the fact that I had hurt someone I had been so close to. I broke up with him in April and honestly couldn’t wait to get away from him and campus for the summer.
I sought out counseling through my university in late August, right before I started my sophomore year. Honestly, going through counseling and therapy has revolutionized my life and outlook, and helped me to remember that I am a worthwhile individual who is capable of creating her own happiness.
It was relatively easy for me to admit that I needed help and ultimately seek out my university’s resources. However, this is not the case for a lot of students who are in a situation and have simply no idea what to do. Add to that stereotypes and stigmas about counseling and therapy and you have a potent concoction of a stressed individual who doesn’t believe there is a solution to their problems.
I would like to dispel any and all stigmas about counseling. First of all, counseling is not for “crazy” people. As my personal counselor put it, counseling and therapy are for individuals who are simply stuck in normal, everyday problems and need assistance getting “un-stuck.” Seeking counseling can sound scary at first. A lot of people prefer not to be open about things they consider problems or failures. However, everyone goes through something at one point or another—something that is emotionally trying or something that doesn’t go as planned. Especially during such an ever-changing time as college, the ups and downs are practically a constant. But in those times, it’s crucial to remember there is nothing wrong with seeking help, and by “losing” control, we actually gain it.
Nearly all universities and colleges have trained professionals and counselors who are more than happy to help college kids through whatever they are dealing with. At the University of Wisconsin—Superior, where I attend, our counselors are trained to deal with anything from depression to time management.
It is my personal belief that anyone and everyone could benefit from talking to an objective individual about whatever is going on in their lives. Stress is part of the human experience, and it should be acknowledged and discussed instead of hidden away. No one is perfect, thank goodness, and no one has all the answers. However, every person on this planet offers a unique perspective, and we must work together to help not only each other but also ourselves.
College is all about facing these situations where you have no idea what to do and learning from them. May this new year find you making choices that are healthier and happier for your whole person, physically, mentally, and emotionally!