An Introvert’s Guide to College

A big change has come my way! After contemplating on the matter for the past few months, I’ve decided to add

Brains are pretty cool!

Brains are pretty cool!

Experimental Psychology as a second major. I am very excited about this decision! I’ve wanted to double major for quite some time but it’s been a struggle to decide on a second subject! This semester I am taking a class called Child and Adolescent Development as a graduation requirement. At first I wasn’t expecting too much out of this class to interest me. In Advanced Placement biology in high school neurology was always one of my favorite sections. Learning about how our brains and all its parts are structured¬† just fascinated me. I decided early on in high school that becoming a doctor was not for me, so I thought that my interest in the human brain would just be something to learn about in my spare time.

As I got more into Child and Adolescent Development I realized that I wasn’t just interested in how the brain was structured. I loved practically everything that we’ve talked about so far: how and when language is acquired (language, as some of you may know, is a passion of mine!), parenting styles, the research method, and future research possibilities are just a few topics I’ve enjoyed. Perhaps the aspect of psychology that I love to learn about the most is personality. I’ve had the opportunity to take the MBTI (The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) multiple times over the past few years through summer psychology classes I took at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Interestingly enough, even with taking these classes I didn’t know that psychology fascinated me!

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I Won’t Give Up On Me

For this post I wanted to write about something a little personal but that is also a big part of me. According to the National Association of Mental Illness in a 2013 publication, one in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental illness, or

LMU's own namesake is known for struggling with depression.

LMU’s own namesake is known for struggling with depression. It’s good to know that even the greats struggled!

about 61.5 million people. This statistic remains the same within the 18 to 24 age group- the age of most college students. In sharing my experience I hope to encourage others to seek help and to let them know that they are not alone.

For as long as I can remember anxiety has been a huge part of my life. Family and teachers would sometimes say that I worried so much that my hair would turn grey before their own hair did. I really only worried about grades. I loved school and I wanted to be good at it. This didn’t bother me so much because I thought it was just a sign of me being a good student. While that may have been the case, I came to realize when I was older that I could be a good student without having to worry about my hair turning grey.

Anxiety hit me really hard the beginning of freshman year of high school and slowly crept into every aspect of my life for the next four years. Tests had always been so easy for me in elementary and middle school but for some reason I could not get the hang of them in high school. I could go into a test knowing the material front and back but once the test was handed out it was like I had never been in that class before. The days we would get graded exams back were often devastating. Teachers I became particularly close to were key in helping me make it through those four years. They listened to my concerns and let me talk out my problems. I wasn’t looking for answers; I felt like when I talked about it openly it couldn’t hold so much power over me. Even if my teachers could not help otherwise, they were a sound board in which I could talk about the things I was afraid to.

Anxiety was not only an academic hindrance, but also a social one.¬† It wasn’t until high school that I went to parties or even stayed the night over at a friend’s house. Whenever I’d go hang out with friends I would have to promise myself to stay for at least an hour or so before I could allow myself to leave. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hang out with them. It was just that we’d be out somewhere with lots of people and noise and I’d feel overwhelmed. I would want to go off by myself to get away from it all to calm down. I distanced myself from friends and turned down more offers to socialize than I accepted. I closed myself off from everyone and everything and soon became seriously depressed. I was giving up on everything in my life, from friends and grades to my future goals. I was giving up on me.

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