I’m stressed and don’t always have my life together. And that’s ok.

Scout Hutchinson, Opinion Editor

As my last semester at Whitman comes to an end, I can’t help but think about all of the amazing memories and experiences that I have had here. The people I have met will be a part of my life forever, and the amazing professors and the classes I have taken have truly made an impact on me. Ultimately, college has been some of the best years of my life and I am sad to see it come to an end. It is also an extremely stressful time, something that I wish I had admitted to myself and the people around me more often. 

The number of nights that I have stayed up because an essay wasn’t quite right, or the amount of time I spent procrastinated work because I was so stressed that I wouldn’t do well have been countless. I used to tell myself that it was just part of my writing process. At some point, usually at around 3 a.m., I would have to call my mom to tell her that my essay was terrible and that I was going to fail. She would tell me that everything was fine and that I could do anything, calming me down enough so I could go to bed and keep working with fresh eyes in the morning. 

I used to be totally content with my “process,” because I knew my mom was the one person who would never judge me, but I now realize that the only person judging me was, spoiler alert, me. 

I have lost track of the number of times someone would ask me how my essay was going and I would respond with, “Great, I’m almost done” or “It’s getting there” without having a single word on my document. In reality, I could have just said “I don’t have anything, do you want to work together?” and that would have been a completely fine response. 

Imposter syndrome runs rampant on college campuses and stems from the feeling that we have to prove to ourselves and others that we belong. I don’t think we have fully realized how much of an effect imposter syndrome has. It can feel extremely isolating to always show what we think is our best self instead of being honest with ourselves and others. 

The stress of school, coupled with the need to not look stressed to others, can make people feel like they can’t admit that they just aren’t doing well. While much of this article is based on my own experiences, after talking to many of my friends it seems as though many people have felt the same way. 

So my question is, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we always feel like we have to be fine? If there is one thing that I have realized approaching post-college life, it’s that no one truly has their life together, so why not be okay with that? 

Putting too much pressure on ourselves can lead to extreme burnout, making it seemingly impossible to do work. When we continue to put undue pressure on ourselves, it makes it harder for us to feel like we can succeed and we feel like we’re alone. However, that doesn’t mean that other people are not feeling the exact same thing. 

I am not advocating for us all to start calling each other at 3 a.m. (thanks Mom). Instead, by admitting that we are struggling we can start to slowly unburden ourselves so we won’t have to get to our breaking point, whatever that might look like. 

We can start to reach out to each other and stop putting on a front in order to come off a certain way or ease our stress by pretending like we just don’t have it. College is hard, and it’s okay to admit it. It’s also fun, crazy and rewarding. It is possible to work hard without putting too much of a burden on ourselves by being honest when something isn’t going as planned or we could use a little more help. It’s okay to succeed, and maybe even not succeed, with help from others. 

So, yeah I’m stressed and don’t always have my life together. I mean, who does? And that’s okay!