Of all of the obstacles I have faced in life, none have been more challenging than moving away from home. Don’t get me wrong, having my own space is incredible, but when you’ve grown up in one place for the last fifteen years, adjusting to life in a new setting can become overwhelming.
Back home in San Antonio, I would often be awoken by a sibling arguing with our parents. Here in College Station, that has been replaced by an obnoxious neighbor who likes to make beats on the wall. Hardly an issue, but the combination of the wall musician and the strain of my fall semester had me missing home.
My exhaustive school and work schedules became a torrential downpour of stress and College Station’s erratic traffic broke the floodgates. Swimming against a flood of sleepless nights, reckless drivers and challenging exams, I quickly began to tire out. However, the water only continued to rise, and I began to drown.
This setback caused me to begin questioning if I had made the correct decision coming to Texas A&M. To find my answer, I decided that I needed to clear my mind. After a couple of poor performances on mid-semester exams, I knew it was time to get away.
Fortunately, I already had requested off for the weekend of the Alabama game, as had my fiancée. So, after working a Friday night closing shift, we packed up our bags and hit the road. The three-hour drive felt long, and we didn't make it to San Antonio until 3 a.m., but it felt great to be back home. My homework and computer were placed away for the weekend; it was time to relax.
My dad made his (should be) world-famous chicken wings, my mom and I talked up a storm and I got goofy with my siblings and friends. It was relieving to see that the argumentative nature of my household had somewhat subsided. However, there are still many underlying issues and obstacles my family faces. The realization of these issues is exactly what I needed to bring myself back above the water. My trip rewarded me with the renewed perspective I sought to attain.
This places a burden of responsibility upon myself that I never would have anticipated when I started college, a burden that I am confident I share with many of my classmates. However, with my newfound perspective, I realized I should welcome new challenges.
We returned to College Station late Sunday night. This drive felt much faster, but more likely because I was diving into my thoughts and conversations. The metaphorical rushing flood began to slow, but the water remains.
My trip allowed me to see that sometimes in life, it's okay to hit the pause button. Obviously, life and time continue to move forward, but for us to continue moving forward in life, we must allow our mental health to become an immense priority. I needed to get out of College Station for a couple of days if only to reassess my mental health situation. It is vital to our well-being that we acknowledge our mental health challenges and how we will overcome them.
Research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness states 80 percent of college students feel that they are “overwhelmed by their responsibilities.” Depression, anxiety and suicide rates have continued to rise in the United States and Texas A&M has done a great job recognizing that. If you can’t make it home or feel that you have nobody to turn to, then please utilize the student services available at Texas A&M’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Always remember that you are never alone.
Mentally, before the trip, I felt to be drowning into a dark abyss. After the trip, I was able to swim again. Choppy waters will test my fortitude, but a light in the distance comes closer. This light doesn’t signal the end. Rather, it presents a new beginning.