When I found out that I was going to college, I was super excited. High school was a drag, but I was excited to start afresh. Once I got to college though, it was a completely different story.

I thought that college was going to be like the movies, where it was filled with booze-filled parties, fun campus events, and Greek life galore. Which, in fact, was true, but I found myself not enjoying social events and generally felt like crap for an unknown reason.

What was wrong with me? Was it just me? Everyone seemed like they were having fun and had a ton of friends, but I found myself generally isolated and disinterested in things. I thought that it was the school itself, which may have been a factor, but there was a deeper meaning to why I was feeling this way.

Back at home, I didn't have access to therapy because my family didn't want to acknowledge my mental disparities. Prior to college, I had always been told that going to therapy was bad and that It made me a weirdo. But according to the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, 1 in 4 Americans suffer from mental illnesses. In a similar study by the American College Health Association, two-thirds of college students do not seek treatment. Frustrated with how I was feeling, I decided to seek help with Student Counseling Services.

Rough Beginnings

Setting up the initial appointment was easy. Once I got there though, I was nervous. What if someone saw me? What if they thought I was weird? In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 36% of students are afraid of utilizing treatment due to stigma. I didn't know what to expect, and I nervously flipped through the magazines in the waiting area.

The initial meeting was answering a questionnaire and some general interview questions. And boy, everything spewed out like a waterfall. 

The initial meeting itself helped me realize a lot of the issues that I was facing, from feeling isolated due to my race, as well as the fact that I was in a rural town and not in the city. There were also realizations about family issues that affected how I was feeling, even being away from home. I didn't realize any of these issues, until I actually talked about it. 

Over time, I was assigned a therapist and we met regularly. We discussed how I felt about everything. Yeah, sounds typical, but rather than just stopping at, "oh yeah, I feel this way because of this," my therapist helped me find ways to overcome and act upon these feelings. For example, on feeling isolated due to race, my therapist recommended joining a multicultural student organization specifically catered to Asian-Pacific Americans. 

It Isn't Always Easy

Even though I was realizing these problems and acting upon them, I didn't always feel great after sessions. After talking about certain issues regarding my family, there were occasions where I was left feeling angry and confused, and didn't want return because I was just feeling like crap afterwards. A part of therapy includes realizing that you have these emotions and acknowledging them. 

This was probably the toughest part, but once you realize that you have these feelings and acknowledging that they are there, you can actively move towards change. 

A Work in Progress

Though there are some things that you can change, you can't change everything. Sure, I joined different organizations and started getting involved on campus, but some issues regarding home and family are things that I actively have to work on. 

Going to therapy has definitely helped me address the issues I was facing, even those I didn't realize were affecting me. But it also helped me realize that people go through shit, and you may not even know. Even the happiest people have problems, and you're not alone. I regularly saw friends, frat boys, and familiar faces in the waiting rooms of Student Counseling services.

It's also helped me love myself more. Talking to my therapist helped me realize qualities about myself that aren't like others, like how I'm introverted rather than extroverted, which isn't bad, but can lead to me being more isolated compared to others. I've become accepting to this, and instead of trying to push boundaries and feeling uncomfortable, I've learned to do things at my own pace. 

If you're feeling lost, schedule an appointment with counseling services. Most college campuses have them, and they're usually covered by student insurance (up to a certain amount). It's not for everyone, but it definitely helped me out, and it's helped me out in more ways than I can imagine. So definitely give it a chance.