How NOT to control your life

Pictured: Xander Fu

Pictured: Xander Fu

Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert

Pictured: Xander Fu

Meghan LaLiberte, Copy Desk

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Admit it, we’re all guilty of waking up in the morning and having a routine: we brush our teeth, eat breakfast and go to class. Then along the way experience waves of panic when the routine changes. The question to ask ourselves then, is not what we can do differently to feel back in control again, but why we need to worry about control in the first place.

Being a freshman in college with new friends who I’ve established incredible connections with makes it hard to want to do things on my own and for myself. I find myself experiencing the fear of missing out (FOMO), but at the same time being worried about not taking advantage of all the opportunities life provides, or missing out on something that could better my life and future. I’m here to tell you that these are all natural and normal parts of the “college experience.” It may feel irrational or like you’re reverting back to a high school freshman mentality, but trust me, we all experience this as newbies in college.

In fact, 85 percent of college students report feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks and obligations at some point, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.So now the question is, how do we fix this? Luckily, the solutions are very simple.

One thing we can do is begin by waking up each day with no expectations, no definitive step-by-step plan, and no questions. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but once you actually act on it, it’s smooth sailing from there. Some people are masters at living life as it comes, so surround yourself with those able to compartmentalize and separate control from their lives.

My favorite piece of advice is do what you love, so do just that. Go exploring for those new hobbies and interests that make you smile wide and fill you up with warmth. Find those places that are special to YOU  and you only, and allow yourself to have a space that no one knows about. Think of it as a bridge to your own Terabithia (I know, throwback reference) and you’ll feel better knowing you have your own sanctuary.

Don’t try to mirror or plan your schedule with those of others. Do your schedule first, then try and make it work with friends. The last thing you want is to be overwhelmed and feel as though you lost that valuable time for yourself to really clear your mind. Find ways to decompress while you’re by yourself. A few great ways to do this are to meditate, read, or my personal favorite, write. Even killing two birds with one stone by going for a walk or to the gym is a great way to pump your endorphins and stay healthy. Make sure you still value time with your friends and make time for them, but remember everything is best in moderation.

Finally, act as if each day is your last. It’s so cliché, but seriously, be thankful for the life you have and the fact that you have the opportunity to wake up each day with a clean slate and chances to make your own choices. We are incredibly blessed to be able to harness our own destiny and choose what we want to do based on OUR desires or needs. That being said, don’t let others dictate what’s best for your well-being or sanity. Though it may be hard to turn down an offer to hang out with friends for more sleep, you’ll thank yourself in the end when you have to get up for classes the next day.

Never forget that we’re human, so some days we’ll feel ourselves pulling back into the need to take control, but you’ll have happier days and more meaningful experiences when you learn to let go and free fall instead of being strapped in. It’s a lot like driving down a road with no destination in mind and the freedom of the open path in front of you.

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How NOT to control your life