I found myself starting the Spring 2017 semester on Academic Probation. I was forced to drop two of classes so I would only be part-time. At first I felt very shameful. One of the perks of changing my major was to help me graduate sooner, and being part-time was only going to prolong my graduation. The period of December to January when school started were pretty dark. Even as school started, I was stressing myself. I wasn’t eating. I was constantly trying to distract myself by working more or going out. My sister has been in and out of rehab and moving back home started to really take a toll on my mental health. So I am trying to balance working and school and family and socialization and I knew that I needed to go back to therapy. I had been thinking about it since January, but it wasn’t the same this time. I wasn’t so ready to admit my problems. I didn’t want to face my therapist again. I felt a lot of irrationality that comes with depression. I feel like I have good friends, and my schedule this semester wasn’t as difficult to manage. Problems don’t just go away as easily as we’d like them to. So I’m only registered for two classes next semester. I transferred to a different store in my district, which has its pros and cons. Semester grades haven’t been finalized, but hopefully I can get off probation for next semester. Life never stops throwing curve balls, and hopefully I have the strength to keep pushing on and adapting to life and keeping myself healthy.
After my first semester at Arcadia, I wasn’t convinced it was for me. My grades weren’t great. I didn’t really make any new friends as a transfer student. I hadn’t take a psych class in over a year since I left IUP. My therapist and I ended our relationship part way through the summer. A lot of personal things were getting resolved and he made me feel like I could handle whatever life was throwing at me. By the end of the summer, I was ready to quit my job at the nursing home and just have one job. It would decrease my stress and maybe I could get more out of my academic experience. It turned out that my manager at the mall wanted to offer me a full-time position. Feeling confident about getting promoted and trying to embrace another new beginning, I gladly accepted. After the first week of classes, I decided I wasn’t really happy with Psychology anymore. I felt like maybe I clung onto Psychology because I needed to figure out some of those personal things before I could “move on” to a major more suited for my career goals. I changed my major to Communications. Because I was already so far along with school, I’m technically a General Studies major. So I thought my life would be different and better. It was stressful, and I enjoyed working. But I felt really burnt out by the end of the semester. Again, I didn’t get the best grades. But I tried to hide what I was feeling because I was supposed to be okay after making all these life changes.
So I was just working Fall of 2015. I was a server at a retirement home, which I loved very much. Old people are awesome. After a couple months, I wasn’t getting as many hours and so I got another job at the mall near my house. It was holiday time, so every retailer was hiring. I worked as many hours as I could when I had both jobs. It was also the first time I was really making some money. I’d had jobs before but not where I got a paycheck and taxes were taken out and whatnot.
Everybody kept telling me to go back to school. They would tell me that the longer I waited, the harder it would be to go back. And I was going to get a college degree. I was reluctant, but I said fine. Why make life harder. Maybe if I force myself to go back, things will fall into place at a new school and life will just magically be good. So I applied to Arcadia. It’s sort of a commuter school only 20 minutes from my house. It has a good reputation, and I would save money living at home. The Psychology program was strict and I couldn’t take any classes because I was starting in the Spring semester versus the Fall. I took a few random classes to get some credits and it went okay…but I still wasn’t really happy. I didn’t feel like I fit in a lot. I was still working my two jobs through the semester, which was exhausting. I wanted to focus on both work and school equally, but something had to give.
I felt like I need to emotionally and mentally recover from that Spring semester. It hit me hard. I failed a class .I wasn’t sure if my friends were really my friends, or if I even wanted to be friends with them. I realized how much I was drinking and the weight I’ve gained and every negative thing that could have possibly happened was running through my brain constantly. I laid on the couch all summer and watched tv. It will definitely go down as a Top Five period of depression thus far in my life. I lost 20 pounds in one summer just from not drinking or eating. I dropped out of IUP. I refused to go back to this negative environment, because I couldn’t view it any differently than that. I had signed a lease to live with my roommates off campus the following year. I tried to find people to take it, but I would end up paying a ton of money the following school year to live in an apartment I wasn’t even living in. My parents helped me to decide to not return to IUP. It was the hardest, but also most courageous thing I had done for myself. My life had to take a different direction. At the end of the summer, I got a job and started going to therapy. I found a great therapist and I was feeling like I could pull myself back together somehow.
Sophomore year started out great. I had my established group of friends. I was ready to get back into school and see everybody. I was comfortable with my academics. The year started off really strong socially. I had partied quite a bit freshman year, but now it was more frequent and more fun the more people you knew. My roommates and I were always hanging out at our friends’ houses and going out every weekend. It was great…for a while. At the end of the first semester, I started to feel really unfulfilled. My grades were fine and I liked going out but I lacked those deeper relationships I thought I would find with my college peers. The second semester was extra dramatic.
Knowing all these people just multiplied the drama between friends. I lost a couple good ones. The my freshman year roommate and her boyfriend broke up. So my roommates and I were kind of cut off from our original core friend group. Not that we didn’t have other friends, but they were our “go-to”. Academically, things weren’t so hot either. I picked up an English minor, and I was taking two difficult English courses after not having taken something that hard since high school. In my major, I was not getting along with a Psych professor who I had two classes with. It was pretty brutal, honestly. Everything was hitting me all at once, and I was not happy with how things were going.
I wanted to go to college so badly once I graduated, but was very nervous. All I wanted to do was to move from home and go far away. So I went to IUP–roughly a five-hour drive from home. It’s super beautiful with lots of trees and nature around. It’s out in the middle of nowhere near Pittsburgh, PA. I knew nobody when I started and was worried about making friends. My roommate and I didn’t get along so well all of the time. She was not far from home and had a boyfriend, so she virtually never slept in our dorm (we had separate rooms). I graduated with one thousand students in my high school graduating class. Most of the students at IUP were from very small, rural towns. Definitely a culture shock. I quickly reached out to a couple of girls I knew I graduated with who started at IUP, too. Having that in common, we sort of stuck together in a lot of ways. I met a lot of people in my classes, but didn’t have too many close friends. Eventually, my roommate introduced me to her boyfriend and his group of friends. We started hanging out more and more and we became this interwoven group. Despite my newfound peers, I still felt really homesick and lonely at times. I didn’t become involved on campus a lot and still felt disconnected. I enjoyed my classes thought for the most part. They were pretty easy and I had no problems getting decent grades, unlike some of my peers. Psychology was what I clung onto to keep myself busy and interested. I decided to live with another girl who joined our friend group who was also a Psyc major the following year. After my first year was over, I got used to IUP and was actually excited for the next year.
My name is Brittany Rorer. I am currently a student at Arcadia University. My major is in Corporate Communications, though I have a strong interest in Psychology. My blog is about my life as a college students and the struggles of making life work while in school. Through everything, I just try to stay positive and be the best version of my self I can be.