The first semester

My name is Caitlin Oropallo. I am from a small town in upstate NY called Corning. I live with my parents and my brother, who is a senior here at Geneseo. I am a flame worker at the Corning Museum of Glass, also known as CMOG. I enjoy special effects makeup. I like to make makeup videos on TikTok and show my work from start to finish. It helps distract me from life for a while. I struggle immensely with mental health. It has gotten a lot worse and much harder to deal with since I am on my own in college. Everyday things are a struggle for me. The main thing that I struggle with is Bipolar Disorder. The episodes that come along with my diagnosis affect me tremendously daily. Now that I am on my own, it is the worst that it has ever been. My diagnosis doesn’t define me, but it is a large part of me.

In the weeks leading up to coming to college, I cried every day. I was so anxious, and my nerves were taking over. Then the time finally came, and I moved to the dorm. It was nothing like I had expected. It was much simpler than I had anticipated. The first time I met my roommate, I was so nervous; my mind was running rampant. We didn’t connect right away. I thought she hated me. After some time, we grew on each other, and now we are great friends. I didn’t expect to make friends right away, however, I had foreseen making some friends by now. Nonetheless I have not and that has been hard on me. I go home on the weekends, and my parents come up twice a week because I am struggling with life on campus. I have gone to some parties and I have made a lot of friends with juniors and seniors, but I can’t really do things with them. They don’t have a meal plan, so I can’t go out to eat with them. They live across campus and have hectic lives, so it’s hard to hang out with them. Normally, I just sit alone in my room and eat dinner by myself because I have no one to go to the dining hall with most times. There are times, I sit in my room alone and think about how crappy life is right now. My mental health has deteriorated so much I contemplate dropping out every day. I just want to go home and be with my parents. I know that I can’t do that. I want to be either a pediatric surgeon or a psychiatrist. If I drop out, then I will never achieve my goals. Right now, I don’t know if I can handle college. I’m afraid I will do poorly on my assignment because I can’t find the motivation to do much of anything. I dread going to classes, but I also have a fear of being a failure. My anxiety is telling me to get what I need to get done, but my depression and my depressive episode are just telling me to stay in bed and watch Netflix all day. I barely eat, and I sleep maybe 4 hours every day. Everyone told me that college was the best time of their lives. It just doesn’t feel that way. However, there is one class that I am enjoying. I am enjoying my INTD writing class. It’s a little early of me but, I enjoy it because everyone is very friendly and I really like my professor!

In all, college has been a struggle for me. I don’t know how to ask for help, and I certainly can’t do it on my own. I am stuck in a hard place right now. I have hope that things will get better, however, it just doesn’t feel that way. I don’t want to give up, but everything in me is telling me to. I haven’t expressed this to anyone because I don’t want any handouts or people to pity me, but this has been my experience with college so far.

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