With only three weeks left in Hutchinson Community College’s 2024 spring semester, my freshman year of college is almost over. It may sound like a cliche, but damn, did this year fly by. Throughout this entire year, I’ve learned a lot about who I am as a person. 

Something else I’ve learned is that some of the best friendships come from places you may not have expected them to. When you meet someone who can accept you and love you for not only the things you have in common but the things that make you different, you’ve found someone who will, in my experience, be there for you no matter what.

I’ve learned along the way of this crazy, fast school year, that it’s better to let go of friendships that are no longer mutually beneficial. Relationships, with friends, family, a significant other, they shouldn’t be one sided. No one person should be the one putting forth all the energy. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to take a step back for your own mental health. 

Speaking of mental health, take care of yourself. At the end of the day, you are what matters.

If you feel like a relationship is doing more harm than good, then it’s OK to distance yourself from them. Put yourself first. It’s not selfish, it’s an act of self-preservation. You can’t build healthy relationships without being healthy yourself.

I’m not saying to take multiple days off of school or work or whatever else you may have going on – that’s not a symptom of good mental health. But if you need a moment, take a moment. Nothing should be more important than your health, physical or mental.

Take a day to yourself. Go outside. Journal. Start a podcast. Spend time with your friends and family. Find something.

Something that’s truly saved my mental health this year, has been finding something I excel in and love doing. No, I’m not being paid or forced to say this, but writing and working for The Hutchinson Collegian has brought me so much joy.

It’s turned me into a different person than I was at the beginning of the year. It’s helped me meet people I would’ve otherwise never looked at twice. 

College is the perfect opportunity to find yourself. To find the friendships that may last forever or sizzle out leaving you with good memories to look back on. It may also expose you to something that you love and can see yourself doing for the rest of your life.

So get out there. Find yourself. And find your joy in the process.

Jolie Shultz is a Hutchinson freshman studying journalism. She is the Collegian’s Online Editor.

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