Going to College with an Eating Disorder: The Door’s Wide Open

“Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”


While many incoming college freshman spent their summers making lasting memories with the friends and family they would soon leave behind, I spent mine locked in a prison of great anxiety. The idea of going to college and beginning to write a new chapter in my life was something that absolutely horrified me. It seemed like every waking hour of the day, my mind was tormented with a slew of “what-ifs”.

What if my professors are heartless graders, giving even the brightest of pupils a soul-crushing mark?

What if my roommates are inconsiderate party-animals, obnoxiously making noise into the wee hours of the morning?

What if, despite my best efforts, I am unsuccessful?


But now that move-in day is right around the corner, I am slowly beginning to walk out of the mental prison I have held myself captive in for all these months.  Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, the great Islamic scholar and poet, said, “Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open.”  I now realize that for me college is that  “open door” that  Rūmī spoke of.  By going to college, I will finally be able to freely pursue my interests and walk on the beautiful path of self-discovery. I hope . . . no scratch that . . .I KNOW that the knowledge I will obtain during my years in college will allow me to give back to the eating disorder community. Maybe I will build the intellectual foundation I need to conduct ground-breaking research into the neurobiology of eating disorders or to create a revoluntionary treatment protocol that saves thousands of lives.

Whatever I decide to do or become, I know it will be great.

There’s no question about that anymore 🙂



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