Hold on folks, this one could get long.
I’d like to thank everyone who actually voted on my first poll on Twitter for my next blog post. You could’ve had cute pictures of my dog but instead what led to my anxiety disorder and depression.
Well, numerous things led to that but college was a factor, but maybe not in the way you’d expect.
*Although this post doesn’t get too heavy, I did want to put some possible trigger warnings for anxiety, depression, and even college if you didn’t have a good experience.*
From the time I was 13, I planned on going to college, because that’s what everyone, including myself, expected. Teachers and guidance counselors all pushed the idea into my brain…I just didn’t know what to go for.
When I was little I loved writing and drawing, but after believing they would be unrealistic goals, I looked at other majors like marine biology, psychology, and criminal justice. I just couldn’t see myself doing any of them for the rest of my life.
So, I went in undecided.
I went to college for a total of three semesters at two different schools. When I moved into the dorm on my first day, an hour into being there, I knew something was off. I knew one soul at that college only because I played sports with her in high school and she was a year ahead of me, living off-campus. When my parents left I didn’t know what to do because there was no one for me to talk to except my roommate.
But I TRIED. I’m an introvert so meeting people is always hard and awkward for me but I introduced myself first, joined a club, and put myself out there so for that, I’m proud of myself.
It’s just that nothing came out of trying.
College & No Friends
My roommate and I stopped talking a month into the semester.
Anyone else I met never talked to me after orientation weekend.
People ditched and ignored me.
I had a group project that wasn’t a great experience.
And let me tell you I TRIED. I’m an introvert so to put myself out there like I did, I am proud of myself for that. I joined a dance club after getting into Zumba. I’m decent but when no one wants to be your partner and you have to dance around the room BY YOURSELF, it does a number on your self-esteem, especially when mine wasn’t great, to begin with.
That was the last time I went, by the way.
Of course, there were other clubs I was interested in (Quidditch, yes, Quidditch club, as well as the LGBTQ+) but just never went.
And all this happened halfway into the semester. I wanted to leave but agreed with my parents to make it through one more.
However, without having someone there, I became more independent and did things on my own. I went to the gym and ate by myself. I read A LOT and got through eight seasons of Supernatural in a month. I even went to some plays and musicals by myself for an Intro to Theater class.
And I was one of those people who ALWAYS had their earbuds in.
My grades were great. For two semesters I made the Dean’s List, getting better grades than high school. I spent a lot of time studying and doing homework in these cubbies at the library, usually when my roommate was around. Luckily, she wanted to live with someone else the second semester so I had a room all to myself.
By the start of the second semester, I knew I wanted to transfer to a school closer to home. I wanted a fresh start. I just had to pick a major.
When My Anxiety & Depression Got Worse
I felt them a little during that first year but like I said, some things got me through it. Although, being friendless definitely hit my already awful self-esteem issues.
So what did I pick? One of those majors I listed above? Something I had a slight interest in?
Well, I thought I’m somewhat good with computers and didn’t take into consideration the classes I had to take, physics and engineering, classes I hated in high school.
To this day, I don’t know what caused me to pick engineering. I know I wasn’t in the right mindset and just picked something.
I also knew within the first five minutes of my 8 am class I made the wrong decision.
Did I tell anyone? Did I switch majors or classes?
No. I just…did what I could. I dropped out of one, convinced I’d fail, and lied to my advisor I had a job at the same time. My social anxiety got so bad I could barely leave the house, which led to depression at not doing well, which led to even more anxiety, and so a continuous ball was formed.
Sometimes I left the house with my mom and sister only to drive back home (I’m sure my mom is happy to be reading this.) But the thought of going to some of those classes only gave me panic attacks.
I was convinced I’d fail but tried nonetheless. I took a math and chemistry class which I felt more comfortable in, but others, I felt like the stupidest person in the room, always messing up, always needing help, a lot of the time not understanding anything. In one class we had to finish drawing out something on the computer and could leave when done and I was ALWAYS last.
And do you know what happened?
I failed the semester.
Thankfully, my parents agreed I needed time off, but instead of getting better, I only fell into a depressed hole of panic attacks and not knowing what to do with my life. When family members made comments, I had a panic attack. For months I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t exercising, eating well, and barely left the house. I was 19 and convinced I failed.
But there was one thing I did. I don’t know where the urge came from, but I was writing.
I did go to the doctor who officially diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder and depression. She asked if I wanted to take anything, but I refused. I wanted to get better on my own.
Writing was the one thing that excited me during the day. I read numerous blogs, books, watched seminars on Youtube, took all kinds of notes, and even worked on a book idea (it went nowhere but maybe I’ll try it again in the future.)
I decided I wanted to go back to school for a writing degree. I even met with an advisor and after going through the classes, felt confident.
However, I found out during that summer, my parents couldn’t get a loan because I failed, and since I had no credit, couldn’t get my own. I couldn’t afford to go back.
But I wasn’t sad. I realized it wasn’t for me. It’s not that I couldn’t do the work or get good grades. It all boils down to each person and I’m one of those who wishes they knew years prior, but I guess I had to go through it to figure it out and “some other inspirational quote that describes it.”
It took me a year to get my shit together. I had to start paying off my student loans and got a part-time job, but also took some online writing classes and got certificates. I created this blog and am so close to publishing my book.
Why Did I Drop Out of College?
I thought about writing this for a while in the hopes maybe someone else is going through something similar and can know it’s okay to take time off or drop out completely if you know it’s not for you.
College wasn’t and isn’t for me and that’s fine. I didn’t get those “lifelong friendships and experiences” but became more independent and discovered what I should be doing with my life.
It wasn’t the cause of my anxiety and depression, I think it was building up over the years and experiences I went through. But I do believe it was the tipping point.
I dropped out because I literally couldn’t afford to go back but also for my mental health. Who knows what would’ve happened if I went to a different school or chose a different club. I’m doing good and I hope that Meagan is too.