College Crossroads – Mike

Being in college, you come across a bunch of crossroads all at once. That’s literally what college is for: to go from public education to higher education, child to adult, past to future. And everything you do in college is basically going to determine how smoothly that transition will go… To sum it up, I messed up many steps of the way.

So I came into college ambitious, but also pretty stupid. I knew what I WANTED to study, but I also had no idea what to do after college was over. I knew I wanted to study linguistics and continue learning French. However, I wasn’t interested much in the careers that a linguistics degree could give me, I was just interested in the subject. All I was certain of is that I wanted to become fluent in French, and maybe someday get a job in translation or something. Realistically, I had to make the decision that even though I preferred French, I needed to focus on linguistics for a career path over French just because it was a more stable choice. If I prioritized learning French over linguistics, I could leave college not knowing the language and completely out of a career. I probably sound so dramatic, but this is just how I felt.

Now that I knew I was going to major in linguistics and minor in French, I thought I was all set to go and graduate as soon as possibly. Except I found out that linguistic classes at 8:00 AM really blow and I’d never do it again. In fact, I dropped out of two classes my first semester and replaced them with another course… which I failed. Because I completed the semester with the bare minimum amount of credits and in academic probation might I add, I couldn’t sign up for linguistics classes because they were already full. This is where my mental health decided to deteriorate. What a typical college student. I decided it would be smart to switch focus from linguistics toward Geography, because I guess I liked that subject too. (I do have to say I really did enjoy geography At the time).

I worked on the weekends, felt like garbage in general, and dreaded staying on campus. Of course my mind thought it would be a good idea to solve my problems by not showing up to class or do any of my assignments. From there I felt even worse about this whole college thing and I had absolutely no idea what my major was anymore and why I even kept going through with this. Not to mention how much I thought about all that tuition going to waste, which is definitely not what I needed to think about.

Fast forward to my sophomore year, and I’m stuck in a limbo between linguistics and geography (I was still killing it in my French classes, though). I think this is where I just gave up because I missed so many assignments in my class yet again, and I then had to drop out that one. Now I wasn’t taking any linguistics courses for the second semester, which was supposed to be my major. There I was confused as hell, basically wasting tens of thousands of dollars, and all I kept thinking about was dropping out of college once and for all. My counsellor gave absolutely no advice and I felt like I had no one else to talk to about these things. And oh did my mental health get BAD that semester.

Luckily the semester after that, I decided to stay in school so that I didn’t miss out on my opportunity to maaaaybe because a French translator, so I stuck with French and managed to sign up for more linguistics classes again as a back up. From there I met a guy who’d become my first boyfriend who I could talk to, I started caring about my physical health and going to the gym more, and I kind of just pushed aside my negative thoughts and just tell myself that it’s going to somehow work out for me in the end, and that I just had to do what I felt was right. Sometimes all it takes is getting the willpower to turn yourself away from a negative mindset.
It only took 4 semesters and a crazy amount of money on tuition, but I finally figured out that I should’ve just stuck with French because that is what I love, and study linguistics on the side just in case. So what if it isn’t the most intelligent choice, it’s what made me get back on track.

Yes, I understand most people struggle in college and I also understand I’m privileged to even go to college. But never in my life have I ever been so lost and stuck in such a dark place, which no one should ever have to go through. I’m aware and very grateful of how lucky I was to be able to bring myself out of something that rough by changing just a few things in my life for the better. Unfortunately it’s not as easy for so many other people struggling with their mental health and their future, and I’m still working on bettering myself today. If anyone even reads this mess, I want you to take the following from it: Even if you feel hopeless in the present and your future seems even worse, it’s not going to be, because that’s just what your brain is telling you. The future isn’t certain, and you can always change your path even if it takes quite some time. For me, I dug myself into a hole by running away from my problems and compromised my career instead of stepping up, doing my work, and being decisive. I learned that stupid little things can pile up very quickly. Don’t skip class, kids.

Insta: @mich9el