College Re-Entry made me a little more comfortable with my mental illness. That’s kind of weird to say. When I was going back to school I felt like the odd one out; I felt so far behind. But going to the program every day and talking to the other students who were going to go back to school just made me realize how it could turn out to be a pretty normal ordeal. That it wasn’t that crazy that I’d taken time off school and that having Bipolar Disorder wasn’t going to be the end of my college career or anything like that.
Just the fact that College Re-Entry is designed for college students made it different. There are not many, or any, programs that acknowledge that having mental illness in college is different. That know there are certain skills you need to navigate that college world.
When I went back to school it made me feel good to have a safety net, sort of. I felt more comfortable. I’m a bit of a dreamer so I had this idea that going back to school was going to be perfect. That after taking the time I needed off everything would fall back into place. College Re-Entry lets me realize that even if that doesn’t happen, there are ways to navigate it. There are ways to be prepared for the worst and be excited for the best.
It was a process when I went back to school. There’s a portion of the College Re-Entry that’s called mindfulness. I had done it in the past, but I hadn’t taken it seriously because I had always been told that you had to have complete silence and sit and think seriously. It’s not reasonable to think I’m going to take the time out of my day to meditate or anything like that. At College Re-Entry we learned ways to incorporate mindfulness into our everyday routine.
On the first day of classes when I was back at school, I found myself doing mindfulness exercises before I had to talk. Normally, it’s little things like that that usually get me on edge and make me nervous. That first day of school, the first day of classes, those mindfulness exercises helped me so much. I was patting myself on the back.
There were issues with me going back to school because I dropped out in the middle of the term because there were financial issues and things. College Re-Entry coordinated all of that for me. Not to say that I wasn’t involved in the process, but they had been through it before. I didn’t know where to start so it made it that much quicker and not like a completely daunting task. So like the current counselor I have and the dean of the school and all of the people have College Re-Entry’s contact information. They were working together to ensure I got back to school.
Now that I’m back at school, I try to make an effort to spend time with my College Re-Entry coach every week. Sometimes it’s hard; it gets hectic but I try to talk every week. The sessions help me organize myself every week. We take inventory of what I’ve done during the week that was good, the work that I need to catch up on, who I need to talk to. Yes, I should be able to do that on my own and gather myself and figure out my next week. But it’s nice for now having someone to talk to. Even if Julie is just listening to me, it’s nice knowing I have that support.
By Nelly Spigner, College Re-Entry Student