I am very grateful for many people in my life so far as I have journeyed through higher education and my own personal life. First off, my family has been my number one support system going all the way back to high school but especially since I started college. My parents always encouraged me to do my best and gave me the space I needed to figure things out, fail, and succeed as I learned how to navigate school. My dad has been a great help in terms of giving me rides to the train station whenever I needed it and trust me, that is such a big support because my commute would be at least half an hour longer to and from school without that ride. My mom and siblings have listened to my frustrations and accomplishments for years now as I tell them everything that is going on in school. Sometimes I need advice and I ask for it but other times I just need to vent and having them care for me in that way is beyond helpful so that I don’t deal with things on my own. I also have some close friends who have celebrated with me every step of the way and have given me spaces to study, ears that listen, emotional support, genuine conversations, and a space away from home to feel comfortable and like I belong.
Having a support system like this one is beneficial because school gets hard at times and facing these struggles alone can make things feel worse. When I feel like I’m not doing as well as I can be, am having doubts about myself, or just get overloaded with school work and stress I can count on my family and friends to help ease things up a bit. Sometimes all it takes is to sit in each other’s presence to make me feel less stressed and anxious simply because I have a space where I don’t need to be worrying about school constantly. Many also encourage me to be easier on myself when it comes to all the work I do and although I usually try to be productive, I’ve been learning to give myself more breaks and rest every once in a while, because of their help. Overall, my support system has helped me be kinder to myself and feel more confident in being able to get through school.
A support system can look different depending on the individual; it can include family and other relatives, friends, coworkers, faculty, alumni, and even pets. The type of support also differs; financial, emotional, spiritual, mental, physical supports all exist. The point is to find those who are open to being a part of the journey with you (and you, of course, should also be a source of support back). If you don’t feel like you already have that type of support, I encourage you to look for it in new friendships, clubs, classes, professors, or other non-school related activities. The support can even come from spaces like this blog and in sharing community with other students that have gone through similar experiences. No matter what the source is though, it’s important for every college student to find this because there are so many new experiences that can be overwhelming and having people you can count on to help you through it makes a big difference.