Finding someone who genuinely knows who they are this early in life is such a rare quality. We all get lost in living a life that balances school, work and a social life. Larla Halsey, a senior majoring in political science, took this year to figure out what is most important in her life and how to master the art of a balancing act.
Transferring the end of her sophomore year, Halsey left The University of Texas at San Antonio feeling like she was missing out on a true college education. Until visiting her friends earlier that year, the thought of transferring never crossed her mind. It wasn’t until she tasted the Creamery’s ice cream, cheered during a football game and learned about the prestigious education that Penn State has to offer that she knew this was the place for her.
“This was the quintessential college experience; the culture and tradition, I fell in love with all of it,” Halsey says.
When she first arrived, like anyone else, Halsey was a little nervous. However, knowing herself and being a “social chameleon,” she knew the payoff was worth the risk.
She found great roommates and made friends very quickly. “I was really fortunate with roommates and the girls made it really easy,” Halsey says. She quickly got involved, rushing ZTA and starting a branch of HerCampus here at Penn State. Before she knew it, she was a sister, a writer and an intern for not one, but two huge companies: Red Bull and Bumble. “I’m known as the bumble girl!” she says.
She was living the dream and doing what she loves: interacting with people. Halsey balanced all of this while still a student adjusting to her new life.
As her senior year approached, she got lost in the chaos and caught up in the glamour of having it all. While her anxiety began to surface, Halsey pushed it off as stress or as simply having too much on her plate. Since five to six of her classes never transferred over, Halsey played catch-up while going through her first heartbreak, keeping up with work and living every college student’s social dream.
While she knew she didn’t have to stick to her normal routine, she found herself breaking normal rules she once set for herself. In the end, she started sacrificing her mental health.
Halsey was 21 when she found herself in a cloud of guilt, forcing herself to keep up with her friends who could go out and still manage their studies. She had always put pressure on herself to do her very best in all of her endeavors.
Constantly comparing herself and not realizing that she truly did have too much on her plate, Halsey realized that she was only hurting herself. Her anxiety began to crush her spirit, and she realized she could no longer compare herself to her peers.
While her family was always willing to talk to her, even at 1 a.m., Halsey figured talking to a psychologist may really be the answer she was looking for. “Talking with someone is always good regardless of how serious your issues are,” Halsey says.
This truly helped her solve her problems and allowed her to learn exercises to calm down her panic attacks. “I want to end that sigma of being a nutcase and needing to see a shrink,” says Halsey. “You’re not a nutcase, you are better off seeing someone in the long-run.”
She learned how to find herself and her center. Halsey preaches that it’s all about prioritizing. “Put yourself first,” she says. “It’s not selfish. What matters is you’re trying.”
After prioritizing self-health and diet, Halsey suggests investing time with family, then school work and finally a social life. “Never doubt yourself,” says Halsey. We are all here for a reason and we are tackling so much in college it is only natural to get overwhelmed.
It truly is a balancing act to get through these four years. Knowing that one person can overcome so much should be an encouragement to all. “I love it here and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world,” she says.