Fall semester freshman year was sunshine and daisies. New friends who literally lived right next door, all the free (read: pre-paid for by my tuition) food I could cram into my face, and classes that, while challenging, were comparable to high school? Sounds like paradise. Sure, when exams cropped up I shouldered my fair share of stress, but I quickly forgot it as I dove headfirst into college life.
My blissful bubble didn’t last long before it burst.
Spring semester freshman year, I got edgy enough to scratch an F — surely the grade I would receive on ALL my finals — onto my wrist with a knife. Not deep or anything, just enough to barely break the skin. I immediately repented of my rashness and scraped just a bit more, so it turned into a blocky A. At that point it dawned on me that I was mutilating myself with a knife, which is generally considered inadvisable. I didn’t think it was wise to be alone after that, so I parked on my RA’s floor until my roommate got back from class.
Fall semester sophomore year was an all-time low for people in my class year and major. Engineering students were dropping like flies, changing majors or going to therapy. Self-esteem? Nonexistent. Dreams for the future? Shattered. Grades? Let’s not talk about those. A lot of it had to do with a certain multivariable calculus professor universally loathed by my compatriots. A lot of it had to do with the fact that math and science just get harder every year.
My suitemates rushed into my room during one of my many calculus homework sessions because they were startled by my raucous laughter. They found me in a fit of hysterics. I had impulsively lit a post-it note on fire, and when I blew out the huge flame, the ashes had scattered all over my desk. Poof! Hilarious, right?
My friends didn’t quite trust me with candles after that.
Spring semester sophomore year I was distracted by my first kiss, first date, first boy, etc. etc. etc. Grades didn’t go so well, but I didn’t really care. When it turned out he was a jerk I wrote angry poetry that I will eventually post here.
Fall semester junior year was actually my best in terms of stress. But I still ended up supine on my academic advisor’s office floor, my head hidden under the chair I was theoretically supposed to be sitting in. My advisor is a saint — he let me stay there for five (FIVE!) hours ranting about classes, transferring, roommates, and, to my eternal embarrassment, boys. He reserves the right to tease me about it.
I didn’t have a spring semester junior year. I figured I could use a break.