Preparing for your future, for college, is a big deal. There is so much to think about. Am I doing everything I can in high school to properly prepare for the future? Where am I going to go? What am I going to study? How am I going to pay for it all? One thing that tends to get left off the list is “How will I mentally prepare for college?” Your mental health greatly affects your academic and future career.

      I come to you as a prior student and lifelong learner who struggled in high school, college, and university with depression and anxiety. At 13 I was prescribed an antidepressant. It made me feel like a zombie. I stopped taking it a couple years later on my own accord. I will never forget my school counselor who gave me more support than I could ask for. She was an angel. I had teachers who cared for me and checked in with me. My academic progress in high school was a rollercoaster. One minute I had A’s and B’s and the next I had terribly low grades and was falling asleep in class.

     I moved back to the United States from Canada in my senior year of high school. I went to a local public school in Duval County. I had no test data and therefore was put into low level classes with students who were struggling with learning disabilities, read below grade level, etc. In less than two weeks I experienced a panic attack while at school. I went to a guidance counselor for help and she was quick to say that ‘we don’t deal with that here.’ and told me to go to a different building and office. I left the school and I enrolled in FSCJ’s high school program where they claimed the classes I took in high school did not meet up to Florida standards. They wanted to put me back in 10th grade. I was in tears. I chose what I felt was the best option for me. I got my GED and started college seven months earlier than my friends.

When I got to college and university it was a whole new ball game. No one taught me anything about time management, note taking, or any other study skills. I struggled. A lot! I learned a lot too. When I was asked to choose a major the advisor simply asked what classes I liked and like many teenagers I liked my philosophy class and my humanities class. The advisor responded with, ‘well, you could major in social sciences for education and teach.’ Ok sure why not? I knew if I didn’t choose a major and continue going to school that my father was going to very upset with me so yes, social sciences for secondary education sounded great. At that point I had had no opportunities for self-discovery. I was never introduced to a career assessment, personal interest inventory, or any kind of learning assessment either.

      While at UNF I remember going home in tears because I wanted to quit school with two semesters to go. I was taking 4 classes. I was failing a class I needed in order to graduate. I was working 35 hours a week and in an unhealthy relationship. No one taught me how to handle stress. I got out of the bad relationship and graduated in five years instead of four.

I had done it! I got a new job and started working. While I had reached my goal I was not mentally prepared for any of it. It wasn’t until several years later I had learned how to become more self aware, how to focus, how to be in control. When I enrolled in a Master’s degree program a few years later I felt much more confident and ready for what laid ahead. As an educator it is my mission and passion to help teens get mentally prepared for their future so they can experience less stress and more success. As someone who remembers her struggle as a teenager I want to help students today in any way I can to avoid struggling as I was forced to.

Click HERE to learn about 5 ways I am helping students.

Best wishes for success in all your future endeavors,

Melanie Black