Upon sitting down to write this blog, it really dawned on me that in a handful of weeks I’ll be starting my senior year. I’ll be writing my thesis, taking grad pictures, and making decisions about my future career. Reflecting back on my years here at Penn State, I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot and grown as a person.
Coming in as a freshman, I was grateful to be a part of the Schreyer Honors College. To be honest, though, I wasn’t a very academically focused person. In high school, I never did much homework and I wasn’t a fan of studying much - in fact, I don’t even think I knew how to.
I quickly got wrapped up in the parties, the extracurriculars, the ability to be with your friends 24/7, and lost sight of the real reason I was at Penn State. My grades started to slip, and I found myself on academic probation with Schreyer after my first semester.
My personal turning point was February 14th, 2016, when I suffered my first severe migraine. I started having debilitating migraines multiple times a week. I was hospitalized that March and spent a fair portion of spring semester freshman year at appointments with doctors, neurologists, and various specialists. I was on medications that would cause me to miss class and my grades began to slip even more. The migraines were eventually diagnosed as Stress-Induced Chronic Migraines.
I reached out to Dr. Gutgold, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for Schreyer at the time, to ask for help. I shared with her that I was struggling with my grades, my health, and with the possibility of being removed from Schreyer. She assured me that I would be just fine as long as I put my past behind me and started working as hard as she knew I could.
That May, I got an email informing me that I was kicked out of the Honors College. I would need to write a letter to the Dean explaining my circumstances in hopes of being let back in. Thankfully, they understood the extent of my medical issues and due to the fact that I proactively met with Dr. Gutgold, they had faith that I would work hard to return to good standing with Schreyer.
I came back to school that Fall ready to tackle anything that came at me. I rearranged my priorities: putting academics, organization, and time for self-care first. That’s not to say I didn’t spend time with friends or go out when I wanted to, but really taking control of my time instead of letting it control me was a huge step forward. In order to reduce my migraines, I tried to limit my stress and by focusing on being the best I could be. I didn’t care about particular scores or grades, instead if I knew I put time in and tried my hardest, that was what mattered to me.
Since I made those changes and began living a balanced and healthy life, I’ve been rewarded with success and happiness. College is all about learning how to live YOUR best life. It’ll be different for everyone and every person will encounter their own unique challenges, but one thing I’ve learned is that reaching out for help and not allowing yourself to be defeated is so important. Struggling in college is something that isn’t spoken about very often, but it happens to everyone. There is a lot of pressure and a lot of change. I know a lot of women in Schreyer are extremely bright, independent, and strong, but sometimes you will struggle and that’s ok. Don’t be embarrassed to reach out, ask for help, and prioritize what is best for you. Schreyer for Women is always a manifestation of those ideals, and is full of women who both know that it is okay to struggle and that you can in fact overcome them, especially with the help of others.