(Un)academic advising: it’s okay to not be okay

School is hard.  Stress is hard to handle.  We’re doing a million things at once to try and get through our day-to-day college lives. We’re expected to be adults. We’re expected to know what we want to be and where we want to go in life. We’re supposed to have all of this figured out. But how? Freshman are just out of high school and the rest of us are only a few years their senior. We’re supposed to be great and thriving, but what we’re not told enough is: it’s okay to not be okay.

1.  You don’t have to have your life completely together right now.

We’re young and new to the adult world. We’re deciding what we want to do, trying out new things. We’re going to change our minds. We’re going to meet new people. We’re going to find different paths. It’s perfectly okay to not have the path you want set in stone right now. If you do and you’re set, then good for you! You’re going to do great things.  And those that don’t have it figured out are going to do great things in whatever they decide to do.

Think positive. Don’t stress about it (I say that as I’m stressing about if changing my degree was the right choice).  See where life takes you. You don’t have to have everything set in stone right now.

2. It’s okay to make mistakes.

Making mistakes is part of life.  We all do it.  Whether it’s not studying for an exam, falling for the wrong person or picking a degree that you ultimately know you cannot complete, it happens.  All you can do is move on.  Forward is the best way to go.  Don’t look back and dwell.

For those of you that have a hard time not dwelling on the past and mistakes (myself included), remember that what happened, happened, and it happened for a reason.  You’re now a path because of that mistake and there’s a good chance that it was a blessing in disguise.  Trust me on this.

3. Failure isn’t everything.

See #2.

Failure happens.  You’re going to fail.  But it doesn’t matter how many times you fail as long as you pick yourself back up and move forward.  It sounds cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason.  So what if your relationship didn’t work out or you didn’t do as well on your paper as you wanted to?  It’s experience.  You learn from it and you move on.  End of story.

4. Changing your mind is okay.

I came to college with a set life goal in mind and now I’m trying to go in a completely different direction.  It happens.  You find out what you want to do and if that’s not what your plan is, you change the plan.  Changing the plan is okay.  If you don’t want to be a doctor, don’t plan to go to medical school.  If you want to be a writer but are a lousy writer, change the plan and improve your writing.  If you hate math, don’t become a math major.

You can change your major and change the plan until the end of your sophomore year (when it’s required to declare your major), and it’s okay.  Take classes that cater to what you might want to do.  Learn about yourself in the process and change your mind more times than you thought possible.  Right now, you’re trying to figure everything out and changing your mind is apart of it.

5. It’s okay to break down.

It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to be so stressed, confused and scared that you let the world know it.  You can’t keep everything bottled up forever.  It’s okay to call your mom or best friend and rant or cry.  You have to get it out some how.

If you can’t get it out vocally, write it.  Write it and tear it to shreds.  Get all our anger, angst, sadness and stress out.

You’re not supposed to have everything figured out right now.  Things might spiral out of control and that’s terrifying. But that’s okay.

Finally, it’s okay to not be okay.

Things won’t go your way.  Things will change unexpectedly without you knowing.  You’ll break down.  You’ll stay in bed too long, gorge on Netflix till you’ve watched all the seasons of your favorite show, you’ll eat a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting.  You might feel useless, irrelevant, insignificant, sad and a million other emotions.  You might be sick or you might feel like you’re just not going anywhere.

But here’s the good news: this is okay.  It’s okay to not be okay, and I think we all need to hear that more often.  It’s okay to be down and it’s okay to have all these emotions, just remember that there is a way up.  Maybe you haven’t found it yet, but you’re still climbing the mountain.  It’ll get better. And for now it’s okay that you don’t have your life together.  Everything will figure itself out in the end and things will go your way.

For now though, it’s okay for everything to be a mess.  We’re young and making mistakes in order to figure out this world we were thrust into.  Some do better than others and that’s okay.  We’re living and we’re learning.  And it’s okay.

It’s okay to not be okay, remember that.

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