Over the 2019 summer, I spent my time reviewing my first year of college by scrolling through Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, reminiscing the times spent in Firestine, Biology labs and hanging out with friends in Doppelgängers. My photos and posts were all highlights of my academic and social adventures, but they all hid something deeper.
Between each post, I noticed gaps. Those gaps represented the times where I did not feel like I was on top of the clouds. I considered not returning to Wittenberg because of these events. The stress and amount of expectations required of me by my parents caused deep insecurities and self-doubt. Exam days became triggers of anxiety attacks and the fear of failing and losing scholarships chugged right along behind it all.
I tried stress-relieving tactics, such as taking long, relaxing walks, talking to friends and throwing myself into knitting to make my hands do something besides shake. These all worked, and I would recommend them to all who also experience stress and anxiety. My freshman year was full of fun, meeting new people, and sweet memories I will always cherish, but the year also gave me some new nerves for the upcoming year.
As a sophomore, I feel more comfortable in an environment where everything is strange, untouched by knowledge, and seemingly unreachable to the young eye. However, I have learned from my past year. I now know not to load my backpack down with so much weight, literally and figuratively.
I look forward now with a little more confidence, because if I can make it through one year of college, I can make it through three more. The social media posts I now see on my accounts continue to highlight the most spontaneous and memorable parts of my summer and sophomore year, but I no longer look at them and their gaps with a frown. I see optimism and goals soon to be accomplished.