Stop, drop, and breathe!

My first semester in college has been eventful to say the least. Before coming to Geneseo, I had my preconceived notions and thought everyone would have their cliques and go partying every weekend. I worried that I would feel left out because I’m not the most social person, especially following nearly two years away from people my age due to Covid. I went to a Catholic high school and had a small group of friends. I often refrained from participating in school events because they didn’t seem worth my time, but after spending my entire senior year in the corner of my bedroom, missing out on the many milestones and memories that come with leaving high school, I decided I wanted to approach college differently.

First off, I was excited to attend Geneseo and to live in the dorms. I felt like dorming would be a huge part of the college experience, and with that freedom from my parents, a new me would be born. I made a vow that I wouldn’t limit myself, but I also wouldn’t force myself to do anything that I didn’t want to do just to make other people happy. I wanted to go to all the school events. I wanted to try. I wanted to come to this school with a positive attitude. However, my new self took many blows during my first month: the emotional damage of a heartbreak, the death of my great-grandmother, falling behind academically due to financial issues, being hospitalized after a panic attack, and living so far away from home. I felt like I was already failing at college life and I was gasping for air. As an African-American and first-generation daughter of an immigrant family, expectations were always significantly higher than an average teen. I felt an enormous responsibility to live up to what was an unattainable ideal: to be everything for my family and to do what they never got to. Where they grew up in the Caribbean, mental health isn’t really a big thing; however, I decided I wasn’t going to make the same mistake and overwhelm myself to the point where I couldn’t go on any longer. I wanted to get better and be healthier. As a result, I spent a month away from campus.

With the help of my amazing professors and friends at Geneseo, I was able to return as a full-time student, catch up on the schoolwork I missed, and get back on track for the rest of the semester. I’ve overcome my irrational fear of asking for help and learned that the faculty here want what’s best for me and understand my struggles. I continue to work on my mental health, and I’m grateful to be in a community that prioritizes my mental and emotional success as well as my academic success. Since my return, I’ve accomplished a few things on my bucket list, such as starring in a Youtube video, going to my first college party, watching the incredible sunsets, making new healthy friendships, and much more! I’m not entirely sure what the rest of my first year at Geneseo has in store, but no matter what comes, I know that I’m not alone.

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