Jacob Bova

For years, I struggled.

I struggled to be motivated. I struggled to have confidence in myself. I struggled to feel anything but the dullness of another day.

This was the theme for some of my high school life and a lot of my early college career. I would walk meaninglessly through the day just doing the minimum and never feeling truly satisfied. Every passing day, this vicious cycle wore my mental state down more and more.

By the time I reached the summer of my sophomore year, this cycle had ground me down into a shadow of the person I wanted to be and knew I could be. I was scared to do anything and would retreat to the dark solace of my room constantly.

At the time, I thought it was another event in the downhill trend that was my life at that point.

I came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a full-ride Regents Scholarship and was a very good student. This did not continue in my early college career. The study habits that were ingrained in me at high school slowly faded away because of my lack of motivation.

Miraculously, I kept the scholarship after freshman year, but that wasn’t the case sophomore year. As the workload got more difficult and kept increasing, and with my motivation steadily decreasing, my grades tanked.

These problems all added up to one day when everything crashed down.

After learning that I had lost my scholarship, there was a confrontation between my parents and I. The family agreement was my parents would pay for in-state tuition, but they were not happy that they would now have to pay for my student fees when they wouldn’t have had to if I had kept my grades up.

My parents disagreed on whether they should continue to pay for my schooling even though I lost my scholarship. This disagreement turned into a fiery debate between the two of them. In my 20 years of life I had never seen my parents fight like they did then. I ran out because I couldn’t handle seeing my parents fight over something that was my fault.

After the fight, I told my mom about everything. I told her about my continuing bouts with anxiety and depression. She told me I was going to see a counselor. I reluctantly agreed.

At the time, I did not like counselors. The only time I had to see one was in fifth grade when my mom thought I was lonely, which my fifth-grade self vehemently denied. While she was probably right, I always thought anyone who had to see a counselor had problems. I knew I had problems, but I didn’t want to confront them.

Saying yes to seeing a counselor was the best decision I’ve ever made. The first time I met my counselor I was nervous and kept to myself. I left feeling like nothing had changed.

With every meeting, I opened up a little more. The more I opened up to him, the more I began to see changes in myself. Whether it was new strategies to combat my issues or changes in lifestyle, each new lesson was a small step in digging myself out of the hole I was in.

I still meet with my counselor, and after every meeting, I come away with a renewed strength to take on every day. Not all my issues are solved, but I’ve been equipped with the tools to help when things are going bad. There are still times when I suffer from a lack of confidence or motivation. I can think of a few times over the last week when something like that took place. Those struggles will be there for most of my life, but because I took the initiative to change, they don’t happen nearly as often.

My reasoning in saying all this is I would be in a worse position now if I had not gone and seen my counselor. I thank my mother a lot because I was fully prepared to let myself stay in the cycle.

Don’t be like that. Take initiative and break the cycle. The only way to fix the problems in your life is to face them head on. That is something that took me forever to learn. I wish I had learned it sooner.

It is tough to open yourself up. I didn’t do it for years. It’s also tough to accept your problems and to go see someone about them.

I’m angry at myself for looking down on people who saw counselors to help with their problems, because everyone struggles. I’m not saying everyone should go see a counselor today, but if you are struggling, don’t be scared of going to see one. I promise it will change you for the better.

Take it from someone who had problems but didn’t want to fix them.

For years, I struggled.

Now I am freer than ever.

Best,

Jacob Bova

Assistant Sports Editor