Making the most of my mid-college crisis

Story by Lauren Freking, Columnist

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According to psychological studies, impulsive behaviors such as spending sprees, binge eating, taking action without thinking of consequences or acting on feelings in the moment versus your long-term plan could be signs of Borderline Personality Disorder. Or, if you are like me, these could just be signs that you are experiencing a mid-college crisis.

I remember the exact moment it hit me. I was packing my bags to move into Baker complaining about the lifestyle we live packing and unpacking each semester, when it hit me. This was one of the last times I will ever have to do this.

From that moment on, my perspective at Baker has completely changed. I’ve experienced more nostalgia than I ever knew was possible. I look at my busy schedule each week with options of different things to do every night and want to cry because all of this fun will soon be over.

My internship this summer only contributed to the attitude I have now. I slumped into the same routine each day. I would wake up, go to the gym, sit at a desk for eight hours, come home for dinner, and then be back in bed by 10 p.m. Although an internship can be considered a great achievement, what was I doing with my life? I questioned over and over if I would be able to handle sitting at a desk every day for over 40 years.

While at my desk I would research alternative careers and look up class requirements to see how difficult it would be to change my major at this point. I repeatedly felt stuck.

When I returned to Baker for the semester I expected things to get way better. As soon as the year started, though, I felt like there was nothing new or fun to look forward to anymore. My classes were all subjects that I was familiar with but on a much more difficult level.

Going to parties was not as fun as it used to be. Watching freshmen have the time of their lives in the basement of fraternities produced a strange envy in my heart. Wasn’t that me just yesterday?

I guess for me, my mid-college crisis has been spread over a period of several weeks. The one thing that has gotten me through it is mental strength. This fear and questioning is natural: it’s about how you handle it.

The best thing you can do if you are experiencing a mid-college crisis is to take a step back. Do NOT make any rash decisions. Trust in yourself. If you chose nursing as your major and hate it, stay with it. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but you have to trust that you are where you are for a reason.

I know that I will do great things in my future career because of who I am as a person. Regardless of the fact that my major is accounting, I will be able to excel and change fields if I need to. I have made it this far and will finish what I’ve started. Just because my mind is experiencing restlessness does not mean I need to uproot myself and start again.

Know that what you are experiencing is normal. Repeat it over and over again in your head. It is absolutely okay to feel this way. Smart and successful people question themselves this way all the time. I began to count my blessings to improve my outlook and state of mind. I used this itching in a productive way.

I figured out that I would have the ability to study abroad before I graduate. Since then I have saved up and will be leaving for Florence next semester. Sometimes experiencing things like this can put new options in the light without forcing you to completely revolutionize your life.

If you are in a field that is completely wrong for you because your parents forced you to do it or you just want to make money, then don’t listen to this advice. By all means change your path. If you can relate to me, though, and are questioning your purpose here and why you ever chose this in the first place, make sure to step back and consider where these doubts are coming from. If your fear is rooted in the dreaded “end of college” or fear of the real world, stick with the path you are on and trust your gut.

My point in saying this is that no matter how many things you are questioning in your life right now, panicking and changing your path is not going to help with anything. Part of growing up is being able to step back and judge situations rationally by setting emotions and fear aside.

I’m lucky that Baker has given me an environment to learn so much and be successful in so many ways. Just because the newness of my freshman year has worn off does not mean that anything is less incredible.

One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln. He says, “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” As a junior here at Baker I know I must stand firm and make the most of these last two years. I want to work hard in my classes and remember my long-term goals. I want to go out on weeknights and make new friends all the time. I want to embrace the bitter sweetness of every event because that just means I realize the true value of each moment.