The Trend of Falling Apart
Ever feel like your life is a hot mess? Here's why that happens — and how to fix it.
On Tuesday nights when all three of my roommates are in the living room talking about what happened on “The Bachelor,” it seems impossible to shut my bedroom door and open my textbooks.
In the hours between coffee and melatonin, we string together our efforts to go to class, complete assignments and stay involved. All of this must be taken care of before the sun sets, because we cannot afford to miss another night out with friends.
I’ve been thinking lately that college has probably always been this way, and that I shouldn’t blame our generation for dragging our feet through it. But there is a part of me that feels like in this environment where we are supposed to be getting it all together, we have normalized chaos and distress to feel okay about falling behind.
Many of us respond to stress by throwing our hands up and accepting the “mess” of our daily lives. But the reality is – we made it. We are in college, balancing social life and education, which is the far-reaching dream for many people. We get to practice “adulting” with our close friends by our side and in Auburn’s amazing campus community.
Negativity, stress and overwhelming schedules are toxic on a college campus. And in those rare moments when we actually feel like we have our life together, people tend to avoid acknowledging it.
I’ve noticed a stigma around being on top of things in college – people don’t want to admit when things are going great because it will only get drowned out by the louder moans of people who feel like their life is in shambles.
It might be comfortable to dwell on everything you have yet to do, but understand that perspective’s effect on your life. Why is our first instinct to draw attention to our faults? I think it's about time we work to change that mindset. Instead of fixating on your to-do list, focus on what you’ve done. Look back, examine your accomplishments and then step forward. Here are a few tricks to help.
Celebrate the Small Things.
…and then build from there. You made it to class on time, you have enough money on your Tiger Card to eat at Wellness Kitchen, or you just completed a workout in your favorite group fitness class. Take the semester one day at a time, and you’ll see how put together you actually are – so celebrate!
Make it visual.
I live and die by my planner, and for me, when I can cross out an assignment or meeting date, that’s a win. Lists are so rewarding in college: they organize our days and assignments to give us a clear plan of action. Even if you are not a calendar user, keeping track of “to-do’s” will help you envision your end goal.
Turn negative talk into support sessions. When talking with friends, we tend to focus on the menial tasks that drag us down. Instead, acknowledge that you might need someone to lean on or share your load. That’s what friends are for. So remember that you are not alone, especially here in Auburn.
Recognize that this is Real, and this is Life.
These issues of negativity and overwhelming schedules will follow us well into adulthood. College is the only time we will share these struggles with so many of our peers, so take advantage of the time now where it is okay to mess up and fall behind.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B.