The Struggle of Back to School

back to school anxiety

It's that time of year again. Back to school. Tired eyes, chapped lips, and picked nails for me. I know I'm not the only one dreading it. I'm sitting here drowning myself in design work for clients, writing, and procrastinating even LOOKING at my homework. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly grateful for my education because I recognize what a privilege it truly is. However, I am also grateful that this is my last semester because I've struggled with school for quite sometime. 

During high school and the beginning of college, I struggled to view myself as smart. It wasn't because I was failing classes. It wasn't because anyone was putting pressure on me. It wasn't because I was getting made fun of. It was because of the way school was set up. It wasn't until my junior year of college in a therapy session that I truly began to understand why school is so frustrating for me. 

I was meant to create: write, design, and explore inspiration. Not sit in a classroom day in and day out, only to go home and be weighed down with more homework. Combined with my anxious tendencies, school left me feeling incredibly frustrated and discouraged. In high school I had certain teachers take away the one thing I enjoyed and believed I was good at. Writing. My writing got graded and torn apart. I was forced to write about subjects I was not passionate about. Writing became more of a chore than a passion.

With school being so demanding, students can lose sight of what they love. Students are drowning in the pressure and burned out of by the required math, science, english, and such. I knew in the 7th grade that I did not like science and I wanted a job that didn't have anything to do with science. However, I was required to take it through my sophomore year of college. I learned quite a few things I never use and never will use. Looking back, I wonder what would have happened if I was exposed to social entrepreneurship or graphic design in high school? What if those core classes were focused more on creativity? Where would I be now? I think if school was more focused on the interests and learning habits of the individual, I would have had a better experience. 

PC: Sarah P.

PC: Sarah P.

They tell you college gets better. It does...slightly. But it's still a struggle. Unfortunately even the creative classes revolve around grades which in the creative world can be a bit subjective. You'll get overworked and burned out. Homework, homework, homework. In my upperclass years of college, the classes that were more hands on, focusing on projects rather than tests, I did really well in. Unfortunately these types classes tend to be in the minority. The classes where my grades depend on tests...not so much. Even when I do well on a's usually because I memorized the information for the sole purpose of the test, not because I actually know and remember the material. I get bored easily and want to do my own thing...studying, homework, and class tend to lose my attention. 

Eventually, through entrepreneurship I began to see myself as smart. I began to understand my role as a creator and a go-getter. But it's sad to think this took me so many years to discover. I didn't view myself as smart for about six years because I was bored, discouraged, and didn't try. 

And I get it. You have to go to school. As my mom always told me "It's a stepping stone to get where you want to be." In college I did discover social entrepreneurship which led to The Honest Consumer. From there, I taught myself Squarespace and Social Media Management which might allow me to work for myself right out of college. So I will admit. In someways mom was right, the stepping stones got me to a good place where I discovered my passions. However, I took the initiative to teach myself because as a creative I enjoy figuring things out on my own. Even this semester, my LAST semester in school, I find myself frustrated going to class. I'd rather be doing what I love focusing on my Beyond the Box clients & The Honest Consumer. Some people say it's senioritis....but if that's the case I think I've had senioritis since the 7th grade. 

Don't get me wrong, I've had a few wonderful classes that have broadened my horizons and helped me grow as a person. I've built some great relationships in college and met amazing people. I know that back to school can be a stressful time for many, so I wanted to write this to let students know that if you're feeling lost & stressed during this time of the year, please know you are not alone. School can be an incredibly frustrating journey, but if I survived YOU will too!