As my junior year of college comes to an end, I have had some time to reflect on my experience. This has been a challenging year and has helped me to realize a few things.

Going into junior year, I had a a lot on my plate. Life seemed to be constantly changing from a state of control to chaos. I was involved in multiple organizations and my planner was full of stuff to do. I loved being busy. Always having something to do kept me from sitting in my room, alone.

Staying occupied stopped me from thinking about the problems I had going on in my life. If I was stressed, I didn’t have time to think about it because I had something else going on. In class I would always have my laptop open, answering emails, fixing a crisis or adding the finishing touches on a project that was due the next class.

It was exhausting. I had to keep it all together in public, but there were plenty of times I would burst into tears in my boyfriend’s car after a long day.

I did not have many people around me who I would confide in and turn to in my times of stress. I did not want people to see me and my weaknesses. I wanted to be perceived by others as a strong young woman who could handle it all. I was very selective about who I let into my personal realm of struggles.

My family was supportive of me and my accomplishments, but encouraged me to keep going as if I could handle it all. I do not think I let them in enough to see that I really could not keep it all together.

Things took a turning point when I started seeing an on-campus counselor. I had been encouraged for a few months to try it but I was way too scared. I felt like seeing a counselor would be the ultimate sign of defeat and I was not ready to start waving my white flag.

After much thought and convincing, I attended my first counseling session in November. I do not remember much from my first session other than it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. The feeling of more and more weight being lifted off my shoulders continued after each session.

Going to those sessions was really difficult at first. I had suppressed so many feelings. Not just feelings from college, but feelings from my whole life. It was hard bringing those up. I had been used to a “suck it up” mentality for as long as I can remember.

During my second semester, I started feeling uneasy about things going on in my life. Counseling had exposed a lot of things that were harmful for me. Unnecessary stressors I could do without. I had to start converting my to do list to a priority list and decide what mattered most.

I made the difficult decision to drop out of running for re-election for student government. I felt like I was letting people down by dropping out and flaking on a commitment, but I had this huge change in mentality that it was time for me to do something for myself. It was time for me to work on the things I needed to put my efforts towards, like my passions for journalism and my relationship with Christ.

Although the Lord is the reason why I am on this earth and able to do all of these amazing things, I rarely would stop and thank Him for creating my drive and motivation to get things done. I came to the conclusion I needed to slow down and start refocusing my life towards Christ.

Going into senior year, I am thankful for the Lord’s plan of creating a sense of peace and contentment in my life. Although I have gotten many questions asking what I am going to do now that I have so little on my plate, I am ready to focus on the things that really matter in my life.

My spiritual life, my relationships with friends and family and truly discovering my passions. It is definitely different than what I am used to, but I am excited for what this new season of life will bring.