The purpose of this university assignment was to make a plan for our digital story project. The idea that I settled on was my mental health journey during my freshman year of college. I feel that this story will inspire people in similar situation and my hope is that they realize that anything is possible if you put forth the effort to make it better. Below you will find my storyboard and my full script for my digital story.
Script for my digital story
When most incoming freshmen think of college, they think of positive things. Thoughts such as making new friends or the fun of decorating a new bedroom seem to be the most common thoughts. But what happens when the unthinkable happens instead? That’s where my story, one I know many others have experienced, comes into play.
Anxiety was the first thing to hit. And it hit hard. I was anxious about so much change in so little time. I was anxious about my new friends, since I already had trust issues from my past. I was anxious about the major that I had picked for the soul purpose of wanting to make money. Unsurprisingly, my anxiety lost me my friends and my grades began to plummet.
Anxiety brought his friend depression. Depression brought her friend insomnia. And the list grew. I begrudgingly went home to my parents for Christmas only to receive a letter from my university. The letter contained any freshman’s, let alone college student’s, worst fear: I was on academic probation.
The letter detailed that I was ending my very first semester of college with a 0.067 GPA. And my depression repeated the word “failure” over and over again. Ignoring my better judgement, I returned for the spring semester only for my mental health to get worse and worse.
However, despite being in denial of how bad I was, I agreed to see a counselor. Well, 6 counselors that were on campus. Spoiler: they didn’t help. In face, each one made it worse. They told me that there was no hope for me. That I should give up and go home. Ironically, that’s what brought my fire back. I dropped the counselors on campus and sought out a therapist off campus. His name is Doug.
You see, Doug changed my life for the better, even though just months before, I thought therapy was a load of crap. I started by sitting in his office for 45 minutes every week, barely saying a word because my anxiety forbid me from holding a conversation. Slowly but surely, I started to talk. I told him about everything, the goods and the bads. But mostly the bads, since that’s kind of why I was paying to be there, and I slowly started to regain myself.
After a few sessions with Doug, I went back to my spring classes that I had missed three months of and spoke to my professors. I was brutally honest with them. I explained my mental health. I told them how I was getting help and was already back on the path I wanted to be on. Every single professor I had was understanding. I made up old tests and made up old projects all for full credit.
I ended spring semester with a 1.02 GPA. Not great but it was better. So I took some summer classes to push it up even higher. Sadly, it wasn’t enough. In August of 2016, I lost my dorm for the next school year and was told I wasn’t allowed back for one year, which meant I had to stay with my parents two and a half hours away. But this didn’t stop me. During my summer classes, I was doing class appeals for classes that I had failed. My professors were incredibly helpful with the paperwork that was necessary.
Low and behold, the appeals were accepted and my GPA jumped to acceptable. Since I already lost my living situation, I went to a nearby community college and took classes that would transfer back to my university. I worked hard in these classes, I was traveling two and a half hours to Doug, who was near my university, and driving two and a half hours back the same day. This totaled to five hours of driving every single week, where I was traveling 258 miles every week. I also had a part time job through it all.
The hard work paid off. In 2017, I came back to my university with a smile on my face and fueled with determination. MY first semester back, I changed my major from something that I hated to something that I loved. I also earned straight A’s and was featured in my local newspaper while also having a part time job that I walked half an hour to and from.
Now, three years since getting that email telling me that I wasn’t allowed back, I am in my senior year of college which is something that I never thought I would see. This is a story I’ve told to many people in the same position as me, explaining the process of how to appeal grades and what to expect from therapy. It’s something most people can’t even believe was real because it’s an overwhelming achievement. It’s something I know anyone can achieve. It just takes a lot of hard work and determination.
The most valuable things I learned from this entire life event was to only surround yourself in supportive people, thinking that you are anything less than what you are is an incredible disservice to yourself, therapy isn’t a load of hot garbage and is also nothing like the movies, the people who truly matter will stick by you through your toughest times and that it always gets better. You just have to put forth the effort to make it better.