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Senior Column: Stress transformed my senior year

For as long as I can remember, college has always been difficult. Being a first generation college student is one of the most stressful situations I have ever been placed in. Learning to navigate college without familial assistance has been very difficult. I originally thought college was going to be a 24-hour party, but instead it was as if adulthood slapped me across the face. By my second semester, it dawned on me that nobody was going to slow down to help me, so that meant that I needed to pick up my pace. [caption id="attachment_25076" align="aligncenter" width="588"] Photo courtesy of Zoey Dotson[/caption] Since freshman year I have been doing whatever is necessary to prepare myself for the next chapter of my life. Unfortunately, I found out late in the game that law school was going to be the next chapter. Law school could supply me with everything that I demand from life. The one question that really stuck with me is, “What could I supply my dream law school with?” Suddenly, what is stereotypically supposed to be my easiest semester became the most difficult and stressful point in my life. In order to get into my dream law school I needed to transition into a super-Zoey. I upped my credits to 20, took a Saturday LSAT class, piled on work hours and became an editor for The Setonian. However, it did not occur to me until midway through the semester, is this extra work healthy? Nightly stress dreams, weekly meltdowns and therapy sessions with my friends became rituals. Before college I thought of myself as a carefree, easy going individual. However, my last semester has changed that opinion drastically. Due to school, my anxiety and stress have been heightened significantly. One does not know how delicate their mental state is until it has reached the limit. Kids and young adults should not have to push themselves to their limits in order to achieve their dreams. Chasing your dreams should be one of the most amazing times of your life. While stress is inevitable, college students seem to be boiling over with it on a daily basis. College campuses need to recognize that more emphasis should be placed on mental health and the overwhelming stress that college brings to students. I believe that my last college semester has shaped me into a stronger, more independent human being. I am blessed to have a strong support system. However, I know there are many students out there who could not say the same as me. The extra work seems to be paying off and my goals have nearly been reached. By the end of this experience I hope to be a better me, not just for law school but for my future. Zoey Dotson is a senior political science major from Vacaville, California. She can be reached at


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