Every student at RPI knows the struggle that comes with attending such a difficult college. Many of us are happy to get even a couple hours of sleep a night, just so that we can finish an assignment that took hours to complete with a decent grade. Most students are content if they preformed average on an exam when the average is around a 60. The academic pressure alone is enough to make the typical student stressed. However, every now and then, the pressure of academics, relationships, and other commitments becomes too much for some and depression and anxiety can set in.
Every time I go on Yik Yak, there is always at least one yak where someone wants to vent about the struggles that they are going through and how lonely, depressed, and anxious they feel. What makes this so hard for me to read is that I can totally relate. After transferring to RPI, I had a hard time adjusting to the tough curriculum and making friends. I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough to attend RPI; no matter how hard I studied, my grades were never up to my standards, let alone RPI’s standards. I’ve always struggled with anxiety, but the stress that came with attending college made it worse than I had ever experienced. Thanks to the help of the Counseling Center, joining the right clubs, and changing majors three times, things are starting to look up for me, although I still have trouble from time to time.
The point of this notebook isn’t for me to share my story. What I want for those reading this who are going through something similar is to understand that you are not alone. There are many more like you at RPI who are struggling to get by. When you’re ready to address the problems that you are facing, there is help for you. Find support from others who are coping with depression or anxiety, and from those who are recovering. There are clubs that deal with the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety like Active Minds, and there are also clubs that you can find solace in by being around people who have similar issues, like Rensselaer Pride Alliance.
If you find yourself not getting quite the help that you need from peers, the Counseling Center is free and could be the right tool to figure out how you can cope and overcome depression or anxiety. While sometimes it can be hard to make an appointment with the Counseling Center, don’t let that discourage you! It just shows you that there are many others who feel that they need to speak with a professional to assist them in moving forward. The staff is amazing and can offer personal advice and guidance to help you. Once you find the right counselor, there are many opportunities for you to turn things around. It’s well worth waiting a week or two for an appointment. There is always a counselor on call that you can contact through Public Safety to talk to you when you are feeling alone and just need to vent. In addition, there are many national hotlines that can be called for the same purposes.
Being depressed and anxious isn’t something that you have to live with forever. Before you can make any progress, it’s important to recognize that being depressed or anxious is not a part of your personality, even though it can feel that way after coping for a long time. These feelings are something that you can change over time to help yourself and learn to live a happy, less stressful, and normal life.