SJU Junior discusses how coming to college exposed her to anxiety.
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“I’m a junior here at Saint Joe’s. I’m a Math Major and Computer Science Minor. I’m involved with Agape Christian Fellowship, part of the leadership team, and I’m an SI for Calculus.
“College has affected my mental health mostly my freshman year. I struggled with anxiety my first semester. With the fast pace of college and so much going on, it’s hard not to get anxious a lot. I think over all it hasn’t impacted me negatively. I’ve grown from my experience.
“I would say I deal with it by surrounding myself with people who will build me up and encourage me and realizing that anxiety is not my identity and that it’s just a tiny struggle of my life and not who I am as a person.
“I’ve noticed that the younger classes are more open about their struggles, which is really powerful. It leads to change on this campus. I think that they’re working to impact not only their class, but the classes above them. Not just by being open about what they’re struggling with but also helping others around them.
“I had one Math professor who, his name is Paul Klingsberg. You could just go into his office and talk about whatever and he was understanding. He was trying to help you as much as he possibly could. I feel like the entire math department is like that, which I’m thankful for, but Agape is the organization that has impacted me the most just because of the people they are and the love that they show.
“Agape is a Christian fellowship group at Saint Joe’s. It’s about 25 people on a weekly basis. There’s usually worship or a message and then fellowship time afterwards. It’s just people who want to grow closer to God but also one another and impact their surrounding communities in a way that shows love and kindness to everyone. The people there have just encouraged me.
“My relationship with God has definitely been the strength of anytime in my life during, well, all of my life but specifically during a Mental Illness. Just relying on God’s strength and peace is the only thing that has kept me going. Knowing that my struggles are temporary and they’re not going to last forever and that’s only because of God. It’s definitely encouraged me to grow deeper in my faith, rather than remove myself from it.
“I guess one thing I would say to someone struggling with Mental Illness or just any other struggle in life is to surround yourself with people who get you and who won’t leave you just because you’re struggling. Find people who will build you up and encourage you, like I’ve talked about. Don’t be ashamed of the struggles you’re going through. Being open and vulnerable with other people and allowing people into your life is something that has impacted me and I know impacts other people when they’re struggling.”