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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

If you’re anything like us, your heart probably skipped a beat when you received an email last week informing you that it’s already time to start thinking about registering for Spring classes. And when we say that your heart skipped a beat, we don’t mean it did so in the cute and jovial “school girl in love” sort of way. We mean you probably felt like your heart was going to leap out of your chest from beating so hard because you have yet another thing to stress about.

We are hardly into Fall semester and already thinking about what is to come in Spring. If you got accepted into UF, chances are you’re a pretty high achieving, hyper-involved busy body. It’s okay. We all are. Chances are if you already have these personality traits, you’re also probably stressed beyond belief at the idea of failing and not achieving the goals you’ve set for your future self. They typically go hand in hand. For most of us, that makes the future a pretty terrifying thing to think about.

It wouldn’t seem like something as simple as registering for classes would kick-start this much anxiety, but for a lot of students it does. When thinking ahead to next semester, it’s easy for your mind to keep on going. First, it’s Spring semester. Next it’s studying for and taking entrance exams for graduate school. Then, it’s getting accepted into graduate school, then passing your classes there, then succeeding in your career field, then finding someone to spend your life with. Before you know it, your mind has gone thirty-plus years into the future and you’re engulfed by the pressure to succeed — just another weight on your shoulders.

It can feel like every choice you make, no matter how minor it may be, has the power to alter the course of your life entirely. Every club you join, every executive board you sit on and every class you take can seem like a pivotal decision.

We want you to know, dear reader, that your anxieties are normal. It’s okay to be anxious and worried about the future.

When you look around at all of your peers, it seems like they have it all together. They have a plan for themselves that has never wavered a centimeter throughout their life. They get perfect grades without really trying and never question or doubt their ability to succeed.

We want you to know, dear reader, that your assumptions about your peers could not be further from the truth.

We are all stressed. We all question whether the choices we make are the right ones. We all question if we are doing enough to get where we want to be in ten years. We all get that panicked “heart-skipped-a-beat” feeling when we are reminded that the future is a real thing, and it’s getting a little bit closer every day. We are all scared.

Thinking about your future and the stressors that accompany it can make you feel alone. It can make you feel isolated, scared and generally sad. For a lot of students, the pressures they put on themselves can be even more hazardous.

According to a National College Health Assessment survey conducted in 2015 by the American College Health Association (ACHA), one in six (15.8 percent) college students had been diagnosed or treated for anxiety and 21.9 percent of students reported that within the last 12 months, anxiety had impacted their academic performance. The same survey found that 23 percent struggle with depression.

If you feel unusually anxious, stressed or upset, please don’t be afraid to seek help for something so normal. Being stressed is OK, but if it gets to be too much take it seriously. Anxiety can feel consuming, but it is something we can learn to live with. Don’t let it take over your life.

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