College Woes: Dealing with the emotional roller coaster each year brings

Zara DeGroot

As a college student, you may be feeling emotions ranging from excitement to extreme stress to impending dread of the future. Unfortunately, these are unavoidable during the college years. But do not fret; you are not alone. Every student starting from freshman year undergoes new challenges brought on by the overall college experience.

Freshman Year

In addition to the general excitement and anticipation that the first year of college brings, the Freshman 15 is no myth. Do not be fooled. Gaining a few extra pounds is inevitable, but also not the end of the world. The array of pizza, quesadillas and hamburgers residing in every dining hall eventually tricks you into thinking it is the most delectable feast, even if you avoid it at the beginning.


As if the dining hall goods aren’t taunting enough, they are usually the only sustenance available and at the ready, minus the vending machine Pop-Tarts that serve as your only vice during late night study breaks. Add this to the looming independence that freshman year brings, and good luck dodging those couple extra pounds.

The gym is a good balancer, but the first few times the wall of ellipticals and countless packs of meatheads will be intimidating, and you’ll just turn around and walk back out. However, with the amount of walking required on campus, you will burn those 8 a.m. french toast sticks off in no time.

“There is a lot more variety of unhealthy foods here than there is at home.”

-Kaylene Loo, freshman human development and family studies major

Sophomore Year

During your freshman year you will probably hear sophomores complaining about “the sophomore slump,” where they struggle to find their purpose and motivation and when the weight of higher education hits like a brick wall. But why worry about this as a freshman? You still have your youth.

The Sophomore Slump is very real. Not only do your classes get harder during your second year, but you are burdened with the weight of existential crisis and riddled with a stress so deep it may find you in your sleep. But, this too shall pass. Brighter horizons are on their way. This is the year to solidify your work ethic and discover the key to your own personal academic success.

“Last year was filled with so much excitement, and with that came motivation. Now you are used to the atmosphere and the people that the motivation just fades.”

-Nicole Poppell, sophomore psychology major


Junior Year

After the tumultuous ride that is sophomore year, you will leave with great wisdom and the tools to finish your education strongly. Junior year is when you dive into your major and become more confident in what you are doing.

Being on campus feels like second nature by now, and you are officially considered upperclassmen. You are feeling good because you have yet another year ahead of you before submerging into the workforce, but a small amount of panic may reside in you as the year comes to a close.

“Junior year is like waking up on a Thursday and thinking you’re so close to the end, then realizing it’s only Tuesday and that you have far to go.”

-Jessica Smolenske, junior natural resources major

Senior Year

Senior year is like the warm bed on a winter’s morning. Your alarm is going off, and you could either be ready to attack the day or you may want a few extra minutes in the warm nest. Come your senior year, you may feel one of those two things. Maybe you are ready to be released from the bubble of higher education and student discounts.

It has been a great four years of growth and learning, but your wings are almost fully spread to embrace the warm (cruel) world of cubicles and mortgages. Or, you might be shaking in your boots in fear of what the future holds. Are you ready to join the workforce and become a part of corporate America?

“I felt like just yesterday was freshman year. I am kind of freaked out it flew by so fast.”

-Garrett Heard, senior accounting major

Gifs courtesy of Giphy

Collegian Reporter Zara DeGroot can be reached at or on Twitter @Zaradegroot.