Tips with Trish: Too much time to think

By Tricia Borelli (TheLorian)

I am not someone who has typically struggled with my mental health. I have, however, been unmotivated lately, lacking interest in things I used to enjoy, and am feeling kind of hopeless about the future. I have also been questioning my major and wondering if it’s the right fit for me. I’m worried that I have spent a lot of time and money on something that I don’t love and can’t see myself doing forever. I’m also concerned that the work is not conducive to having the family that I think I want for myself. This is pretty stressful since I am five semesters in. I’m a junior in college and feel like I have worked hard to get to this point and wish I felt more settled. Do you
think I should be having these big questions right now?


Signed,
Unsettled

Trish says:

Even those of us who don’t have a mental health diagnosis are struggling with mood and motivation these days. Brain health issues do not discriminate. Those of us who have diagnosed illnesses or have had traumatic experiences in the past are indeed more vulnerable but the truth is, none of us are immune to problems with mood. As I have mentioned in recent articles, COVID-19 and the other things going on in the current world are creating a lot of extra stressors. The fact that you are questioning your path and place in this world is not uncommon. It is a sign of the times as well as indicative of where you are in your life right now. Thanks to COVID-19, we are a lot more sedentary which means a lot more time to
get caught up in our thoughts. We are less interactive and have less distracting us. Although this can help us be more present, it also means more time in isolation which lends itself to overthinking. Overthinking can be helpful when we are trying to plan a vacation or find a solution to a problem, but in my experience, overthinking can be more of a detriment than a strength. Ruminating over an issue can cause anxiety and fear. It can also prevent us from listening to our heart and gut which are two other
information centers that are important to tap into.

The idea that the traditional student is asked to decide a future career when he/she is not even 20 years old, is kind of crazy if you think about it. Our brains aren’t even fully developed until we are around the age of 25. The Wall Street Journal put out an article in 2010 indicating that the average person may have up to “seven careers in their lifetime” (Bialik, 2010). Another more recent article from the same source said that the current pandemic is causing adults to think about whether there is something more
practical and workable for them instead of their current job (Steele, 2020). Bottom line is that people are living longer these days and it is not surprise that people are reevaluating how they want to spend the remaining 50-60 years.

Deciding on a major is a big decision. You chose this path for a reason. Give some thought to why you chose your field of study and do some research on the many things you can do within that framework. Consider things like your interests, your abilities and the likelihood for you to obtain employment. Sit down and talk with professors about your thoughts and feelings. They have been there and they can be an amazing resource for you. Consider sitting down with Jeff Roberts in the CEL office or someone in your field of study who has “been there.” Consider adding a minor or two to compliment your current one if you can make it work before graduation.

We are in interesting times. No one could have predicted the impact of this virus on the 2020 workforce. It’s no secret that more than 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March and some of your older friends are struggling to find full-time work (Business Insider, 2020). It makes sense that you are spending your extra time wondering if you have made the right choice regarding your path. The important thing is that you are getting an education. We are all learning a lot about life during
these times and will be more prepared for the world because of it. Give yourself time to feel what you are feeling but remember that you are thriving in uncertain times and if your career changes going forward, that is what is meant to be.


Sincerely,
Trish

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Written By :

Tricia Borelli is the Director of Counseling Services at Loras College. In Tips with Trish, she will answer student questions concerning anything that relates to keeping it together while doing this crazy thing called college. Send questions or comments to Ms. Borelli, Loras Box 100, or to the e-mail address tricia.borelli@loras.edu. All names of those sending questions will be kept confidential.

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