For many beginning college students, finals have just whisked by and if the end of the semester or quarter hasn’t already come, it’s getting close.
What comes after this? The bliss of a stress free christmas break? The much needed sleep that was missed while cramming for exams and finishing up final projects? That’s what one hopes for but unfortunately often times work and even the obligations that come with gift giving and family event planning take the place of the stress that was just shaken off. That being said, a thing that does bring some relief is sharing the pain and letting out our pent up frustration via complaints about how awful the first semester was and how sleep deprived we are to older friends, or even family, that might have gone through the same thing.
What students are most often met with is not reassurance or encouragement but three words that may seem harmless but are actually extremely draining: “It gets worse.” When these simple words become an answer for even just a few of the struggles college students deal with, the results can be almost scary. The stress you feel that makes your anxiety act up? It gets worse. The sleep deprivation, from staying up to finish assignments, that can make you physically sick? It gets worse. The fear that your best work isn’t good enough and you’ll amount to nothing? Yeah, you get the picture.
No one starts college believing it will be easier than high school but to imbed the idea that nothing improves, that everything can only get worse from where you are now, can trigger the pessimistic idea that it’s all too much trouble to be worth it. It has happened to many people, and though these words don’t automatically cause a person to drop out, it can definitely affect one’s outlook on school and class workloads as well.
So yeah, the three words hold some truth, college is hard and it doesn’t often get easier, no one is trying to deny that. Still, the next time someone complains about a difficulty in their academic life, instead of pushing out the usual negative “It only gets worse”, consider offering a helpful piece of advice, some tips, or maybe, simply let them know that they’re capable. Just like negativity can be a strong force, a few encouraging words can go a long way.