College tends to be some of the best and most difficult four years of a young person’s life. Many questions relating to ‘what it all means’ are asked in the minds of students, and I think it’s easy to question every decision you’ve ever made in your life the moment you enter college.
Statistics of people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffering from anxiety and depression have rapidly increased over the years. Not only is there the pressure of the academic journey, there is also a loss of identity and in some cases, students find themselves so desperate to feel fulfilled, that they become depressed or anxiety ridden.
I spoke to a few female college students here at ASU and what they had to say about the stressors of college is disconcerting. Alex Whitten, a freshman majoring in journalism, says, “ One of the most stressful things, I believe, about college is finding where you belong not only with peers but within your major and questioning whether what you’re doing is worth it or not.” I think there are a lot of other students here who would without a doubt, agree with her statement, but it’s very easy to feel alone when everyone deals with these feelings in different ways.
Women in particular struggle with the idea of perfection and what that means for them. This pressure can relate to body image and as I mentioned before, self-discovery. When asked about these pressures, Alex claims, “I absolutely feel pressure about body image. At our campus, we have a lot of health majors, and accordingly they all look tan and amazing and I rarely have time to work out because of homework. Also, being at ASU, there’s always the pressure to go out and drink and smoke and I just don’t have that need and don’t want to.”
These four years can be very confusing in so many ways, and it doesn’t just pertain to freshmen. Lauren Clark is a junior majoring in journalism as well, and says, “I have definitely experienced anxiety over stress and emotional conflicts. And while there may have been times in my life I might have been feeling depressed, I don’t think I would classify under the medical term for depression.” It’s clear that these years can be difficult for anyone, and while some may suffer more than others, we are all familiar with the feeling. I think the most effective way to get through these issues is to surround yourself with positive people and remember you’re not alone.
However, I understand it’s not always that easy, so seek therapy or an outlet of creativity. In the end, college students deal with a lot of anxiety and depression, and instinct is the best tool a young person can have when dealing with their emotions and their future. This life is all yours, and you have the power to write it however you choose.
Photo and Article by Cianna Leparulo