Welcome to our new section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus.) We welcome faculty, clinicians and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here

You are finally free.

Moving cross-country for college has unlocked the shackles your parents consistently placed on your freedom.

The fact that you have a monthly allowance to fuel your questionable choices makes the situation that much sweeter.

Curfews and quiet nights in are a thing of the past; instead you can stay out all night without worrying about coming home to an hour-long lecture on responsibility.

All you have now is you, your friends, and a new town ripe for exploration — or so you think.

The first few weeks were pure bliss with countless parties organized to usher in the freshmen. If you didn’t know any better, you may just assume you are the most important people on campus.

Then, as is the norm in life, the penny drops.

It often starts slowly, with an email from your dean outlining your timetable for the year.

“A few classes a week? Sign me up.”

The first few lectures are oddly enjoyable.

Meeting up with your fellow freshman-week revelers in a sober state is gratifying; swapping stories on your various escapades, a highlight of an otherwise gloomy week.

The initial assignments are short introductory write-ups that you can procrastinate on till the last minute.

You keep asking yourself why everybody complains about attending classes in uni; for you, it’s a literal piece of cake.

However, by the time the third week rolls around, the strain finally gets to you.

Sitting in class on Monday morning, you repeatedly question your decision to attend that dorm party last night. If only you had crept away early enough to get your eight hours of sleep, your head wouldn’t be throbbing this much.

The professor reminds you that he needs his assignments submitted by noon and now, that short write-up seems like an insurmountable mountain.

You look to your left and your roommate, who was at the same parties as you, seems fresh and has his printed assignment ready for submission.

How the hell did he get it done when you have been tearing up the nightclubs together for the entire week?

In fact, everybody seems to have their write-ups on their desks. A further sign that you are the only one fighting against the shackles of responsibility.

After class, as you try and convince the professor to grant you an extension for the assignment, your phone buzzes with a new text message — another party invitation.

You shudder and begin to miss the simplicity of basic curfews and parental lectures, but, you asked for the freedom; now you must learn how to work around it.

Originally published at rowdystudent.com

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis