How can I get better if I feel I'm in the wrong path but I know it's the right one?

I've been feeling down ever since I applied to college. Even though I really like the degree I chose, I feel like I can't do anything.
I graduated from a very demanding high school that I think really damaged my already damaged mental health. So when I entered college I felt like I wasn't good at anything, even though I've been practising and learning the multiple subjects they're teaching me since I was little simply because I liked it.
It seems that so many doors are closing. I no longer know if I am the problem or the situation. I procastinate my duties a lot as well, probably because I am afraid of not being able to rest if I do the things I must do, so I'd rather rest instead of studying.
I want to do so much and do well in my academic life, but I feel tired and am afraid of feeling even more tired after doing what I should do.
Asked by Mary
Answered
12/06/2021

Hi Mary,  Thank you for reaching out to ask this question.  

For many people, getting started at college can be overwhelming.  Usually, they have a different high school experience and feel unprepared for the individualistic style of college.  College tends to have a large workload between classes, labs, research and homework, and you are largely left up to your own schedule and time management to get these tasks accomplished.  It's an adjustment that usually happens throughout the first year.  If you can get through the first year, many seem to be more successful from thereon.  

However, you mentioned having a "demanding high school experience which led to some damaged mental health."  I feel going right from that experience into a college experience will be a difficult transition if the high school experience isn't processed and your mental health tended to. It would be ideal to go into the college experience with a clear head.  It does sound like you are focused on your degree and have a passion for it since you have been practicing since you were young because it interested you.  I would hate to see your love and passion for your degree diminish because of these extra challenges.  You mention needing rest and I'm wondering if trying to deal with the high school challenges and deal with the adjustment into college isn't emotionally draining you. 

Next, there is a time management component to this when you discuss procrastination and not being able to get your tasks done due to needing to rest.  We can become easily overwhelmed when looking at the BIG picture and our energy just leaves us and we just want to retreat, rest or do a more pleasurable activity (tv, music, reading).  Then our tasks become even bigger with more deadlines and we become even more overwhelmed and that can easily lead to depression and anxiety. 

My recommendation would be to just do ONE thing - no matter how big or small, and tackle it.  I would also recommend doing something positive or rewarding once this task is completed.  Think of it positive reinforcement.  Then you can move on to the next task.  These tasks could be reading one chapter, doing one research paper, study for one test - it doesn't matter how big or small, what's important is just taking that first step.  You could also write a list of all things you would like to accomplish that day.  I would recommend keeping it to four or five things and KNOW that you may not get to all of them.  You want to set yourself up for success.  It may be easier for your to get a day planner and put everything in there to help keep you more focused and organized. 

I hope some of these suggestions are helpful and strongly encourage you to reach out for more support as you navigate this challenge. 

Sincerely, Diana Sebzda  

(LPC, FT)