First of all, sorry for the radio silence. It has been a busy few weeks and I lost track of time and the desire to write anything.
School starts again tomorrow for me. This is my last full-year in college, I’ll have one semester after to finish after this year. That feels incredibly overwhelming but also completely unreal. I started college in 2012 in Boston, and I very quickly had to leave because I was not stable enough to stay in college. I tried again in 2013 in Portland, completed a semester, and then had to leave due to my instability again. In 2014, I went to a therapeutic program while attending college in Idaho. I again lasted one semester and then had to leave. I finally ended up at UNR, and I have been here since summer of last year.
I have managed to put so much time in during the last year. I have taken enough classes that I now have only three semesters left before I graduate. I won’t even be that far off of when I should have graduated (this year). I would be lying if I said I’m not scared, because I am. The concept of actually getting through school is terrifying. But for right now, I’m trying to live in the moment, and this moment contains organizing myself for the upcoming semester-18 credits worth of classes, work, a dog, and attempting to maintain a social life.
In my years of starting school, I’ve learned a variety of things that are helpful to consider when going to school in recovery.
- Don’t introduce yourself as your illness. It’s difficult to start a new life when everyone immediately knows you as “that person with an eating disorder/addiction/etc.” That isn’t to say don’t tell anybody, because you will need people that can support you. But you have an identity that isn’t your eating disorder. Let people get to know you, too.
- Sleep!! I know starting college, or going back for a new semester, is incredibly exciting. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to sleep! You are much more likely to be successful, both in college and in your recovery, if you sleep.
- Get plugged into a treatment team in your new place. Even if you’re doing super well, change is really hard to deal with. Not seeking out a treatment team could be detrimental to your recovery. At the very least, find a therapist. If you don’t have to talk about your illness, then you still have someone to talk to about life!
- Take time for you. If you love watching Netflix, take an hour of your week and watch Netflix. If you love reading, take an hour in the week to read. Whatever you love, find time to do it. You need to take care of you.
- Talk to people. Making friends is hard, so talk to the people you sit next to in class. Talk to your roommate. Join a club. Find some people that you can hang out with that are your speed.
If you’re starting college, or going back to college, good luck! You can do it, I promise.