I had just graduated from a prestigious high school at the top of my class. A few months later, I would be coming to Georgetown University, another competitive, selective and prestigious school. I thought I knew it all. I thought I found love. I thought I had this whole life game figured out.
But once college started, I watched this top-of-the-world feeling slip, and I began to blame Georgetown. Everything I thought I knew about life was wrong. I was close-minded and living in some idealized world — one that did not exist. As my whole perspective on life altered each day in my first two years at Georgetown, I began to feel trapped in some special kind of hell. I later learned that this was depression.
It’s true when people say that once you hit rock bottom, you can go nowhere else but up. I discovered this sometime during my junior year. I lived in a world where I felt so horrible as a result of my first two years. I originally considered this to be an external problem: the environment at Georgetown. Never did I consider these problems to be internal — my own lethargy and resistance to change. When I finally acknowledged I was depressed and creating problems for myself, I saw everything in a completely different light. I began to learn to look for the good in everything I did and everyone I was surrounded by. This is a challenge, especially because when you are depressed, you have a tendency to only see the bad. However, making the effort can change your perspective on life.
What hurt the most was the two years of college I considered wasted due to my depression. I went into college expecting it to be, from start to finish, the best four years of my life. Never did I think that I would have to endure the hardest two years of my life. Fortunately, I was able to achieve the peace of mind to recognize that these two years were not wasted. Instead, those two years taught me more about life than any person or any class ever could. People say adversity builds character, and I believe this is especially true of depression. Reflecting on my depression gave me the clarity to finally accept that my first two years at Georgetown were not a waste. Rather, in a weird, twisted way, they were the two most influential years of my growth.
I lived a static existence early on in college. I held on to past relationships too tightly and wrote any new college experiences off as failing to measure up. This created a multitude of problems for myself. However, college is not marked by stagnation. Instead, it is a learning process marked by periodic change — the good, the bad and the ugly all shape the person you will be upon graduation. As cliche as it sounds, instead of living in regret, work every day to learn from your past and make the most of your present. Making the effort goes a long way.
Joseph Murdy is a senior in the College. Yes and Know appears every other Wednesday on thehoya.com.
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