Thoughts on My First Year of College

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It’s 14 days until my first year of college comes to a close, and I can hardly believe it. A year ago, I didn’t know if I would be able to even do college. In fact, right up until the first day of school, I was terrified that I would fail.

Now, I know many seniors feel this way. It’s hard to feel confident when you’re moving into a whole new season of life. You have doubts that you can make friends, keep good grades, and just ‘make it’. But if I can do it? I have no doubt that anyone who is willing to work hard will succeed.

Because here’s the thing: The last two years I haven’t just been scared of a life change, I’ve been scared of, well, life. My health has gotten worse and worse, I only just got a diagnosis in December (more on that later), and the summer after my senior year I spent most of my days in a dark room, crying, because of exhausting pain, depression, and anxiety.

I was on meds that made it all worse, and I was so scared about keeping up with everyone at college–was I smart enough? Would my migraines leave me alone long enough to actually learn anything? Would I have to leave school because I couldn’t keep up, or because my health continued to go downhill, to the point that I couldn’t do school?

And yes, there have been weeks (this last one, in fact), where I had to stay in bed because of migraines. And yes, my health has continued to bring new and surprising issues. There have been days I can’t stand. Days I can’t concentrate in class, but I can still take notes. There are days I wish I didn’t have to do school, but I am so blessed that I can.

I’ve learned a lot from this year: On the good days I do as much homework as possible. Two weeks ago I went through and was super productive, doing nearly all of my homework for the next month, because I never know when another migraine will set in, and I’m glad I did, because I would be very behind this week if I hadn’t.

The anxiety about college did, in a way, help me prepare for it. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. But so many of my fears, failing classes and not being able to keep up, were unfounded.

Because here I am, at the end of my freshman year, and I’m on the dean’s list. Working as a tutor. And preparing to fly out in 17 days to Europe for Study Abroad. And again, the anxiety sets in: Will I be able to keep up? What about the days I can’t stand from the pain, and we’re supposed to tour the city? What if I miss this, or that, and what about. . .

In the end, I’ve learned some things from my first year: It’s good to be prepared, but don’t let the worry quench the excitement. Let other people help when you can’t be strong alone anymore. Give it all to God. You don’t know what’s going to happen; just do the best you can.

Yesterday in chapel we sang ‘Blessed Be Your Name’, and I started tearing up. Partially because It’s been a really rough week and  that’s all I can seem to do *sigh*, but also because that’s exactly what I needed to hear:

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

At the end of my first year, I’m amazed how confident I feel in this environment. Apparently I’m actually pretty good at this whole school-thing. Who knew? I’m even getting really excited for my classes next fall!

But just like I was finding out last year, I can’t stay in my comfortable little box. I fly to another country in two weeks, and it’s going to be a whole new environment, and I’ll have to learn how to do everything, all over again

As with every new situation, I’m scared. But I am so excited, and so ready to go.

A post shared by Amalia (@amaliacharis) on

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