My first year of college taught me one thing: you might not love your college, and you might be really unhappy there. I've mentioned it before (here, on leaving and here, on rejection advice) and am perfectly open to talking about it. I hated my college. I hated being a student there, I didn't feel welcomed, I lacked a lot of motivation, and felt very lost (not growth lost, but scared and hurt lost). My biggest motivation for attending this school was the fact is was a four year school. It wasn't the best reason to go, but I learned a lot from my experience. And plus, a lot of people I know went to schools because they were four years and ended up loving them. Whatever the reason is up to you.
Education and going to college are tricky matters. Making the decision on what school to go to, learning to live in a new environment, building new relationships and keeping the ones you already have, and balancing school work is a lot of change and a lot to deal with in those first few months (or years). Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and mindset is hard, too.
Discussing mental health openly is not as prioritized as it should be. In my experience, many young people don't feel that their problems or feelings are important enough to talk about. So often we're told "someone has it worse" and our problems are constantly being compared and devalued. Remember this: that is not okay. It is not okay for someone else to tell you that your feelings aren't as important as someone else's and that you need to take the back seat to others.
Before I even left for college, I was already sad about it. I was heartbroken that I didn't get into my first choice school which, looking back on, I wasn't even that eligible for. I went to school with the mindset that I didn't want to be there, which didn't help my situation. I built a lot of really great relationships, met some really amazing people, and have some really fond memories of my time there. But, feeling low so many days out of the week, skipping class because I "felt sick", and coming home almost every weekend wasn't healthy. I wasn't in a positive place and I knew staying there wasn't going to help me. Luckily for me, I had a great roommate (who I'm still very close with) who understood me and was there for support when I really needed it.
The stigma on mental health and illness that is so prominent in our society made me really anxious while I was at school. Four years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school, I was diagnosed with depression. I went to therapy and took medication, and eventually I felt better. But going away to school, a school I didn't feel happy at, triggered my depression and it gushed back. I felt too embarrassed and nervous to seek out on-campus resources (though they really do help), so instead I skipped class, cried in bed, wrote about it on Tumblr, and took long showers. It really wasn't healthy or fair to myself to stay in that environment. It was important I left.
It wasn't until after I officially decided to leave and took a gap year (I'm not currently in school) that I realized how depressed I was away at school. There are days I feel really low and embarrassed that I'm not currently enrolled, until I remember that I now feel healthier than I ever have before. I'm working full time, get to spend time with Chris, my closest friends, and my family, and don't feel the same pressure I did while away.
I'm sharing this because I think it's important that people know, especially new college students, that not everyone is going to have a blast at school. It's easy to feel isolated, lonely, scared, anxious, and experience depression. Talking about it is important. Your feelings, your health, and your experiences matter. Seeking out the right help and optimizing on-campus and local resources is so, so important. It's only fair to do what's right for you and your well-being. If leaving your current university and transferring, taking a gap year, or whatever is what will put you in a safe and healthy place, then do it. You matter. You owe it to yourself to do what makes you happy.