People don’t generally assume this about me, but I suffer from a daily dose of anxiety.
When you’re a college student studying a in college you know your parents had to bleed just to have you enrolled in, it can put a lot of pressure in your back. You have to do your best, there are no excuses and you better not FAIL. You’re worried; would I still be able to study in this college? Would my Algebra professor give me an F? What if my grades are so low, no one would hire me when I graduate?
When you’re a college debater, you learn how to think under pressure and to just let the moment be. There are motions beyond your control, you can’t possibly know everything there is to know about the geopolitical climate in the EU, and you don’t hold all the solutions to the world’s problems like global warming, punishing criminals properly and the such. But that doesn’t give you a legitimate reason to lose. You cannot fail. Make a solution up. All those hours of matter loading (basically, reading a lot), training and crying from exhaustions must not go to waste. You have to win. When I win, my esteem grows but when I lose, my esteem goes down a notch and I’ve lost more than I won. It’s a pretty vicious cycle.
The fear of failure can be too much that I can’t help but wish I could stay in my bed instead. After all, I can’t really fail if ‘m not there right? I can’t really fuck up if I’m sick and I have to stay in bed right? The important things would have to wait because I’m not ready to face those important things.
There are nights when I wake up from a bad dream. Nightmares usually occur when a stressful paper is almost due, or when there’s a test coming or when there’s a debate tournament approaching and I know I’m not 100% prepared yet. Another thing that’s been giving me worry lately is my thesis, the fact I’m graduating and would have to look for a well-paying job, my weight, my appearance… A lot of things.
It got really bad when I was in second year college. Second year college was a really terrible year for me for the following reasons:
- My boyfriend broke up with me
- I had my first psych majors and I hated all of them
- In the first three months of my second year of college, I was still commuting from Calamba to Quezon city because we couldn’t find a dorm for me to stay in
- I was incredibly lonely; I was in a phase of getting to know my college friends vs trying to talk to my high school friends.
- There was a moment I thought I had to stop studying due to financial reasons
All in all, I was just a wreck. Nothing was certain back. I had no idea if I should still continue studying in Metro Manila when the tuition fees were killing my parents AND the daily commute was having its toll on me. Debate also got really demanding and that meant I had to go to school on a Saturday too. The fact that I couldn’t talk to anyone about my fears were also a big deal because I really didn’t know how to feel except fear.
It didn’t go away immediately but then I remembered this:
This is the Desiderata and my high school Values Education teacher taught me this, and my own mother knew about this and ever since, it has always been my source of strength. I learned to stop pressuring myself, to believe in myself and most of all to just GO WITH THE FLOW.
There is nothing wrong with failing, but failing to try is definitely one of my biggest regrets in college life. I would still get anxiety, because everyone faces them, just for different reasons. What matters is how you overcome them and continue to live a life you can appreciate and continuously fight for.