Do college students have serious mood swings? Do you have any, or know someone with them?

TLDR: (read the bottom paragraph)

I’ve had lots of mood swings this fall, I’m a sophomore in community college taking all online classes. Back in September, I was feeling very lonely, I didn’t think I’d want the college experience since I liked being alone back in HS. Last month, I realized that I don’t know what I want socially once I would transfer to a 4 year school next year. I think I would like partying and spending lots of time with people, but I realize it’s totally possible that I’m just romanticizing the college experience because of my current situation, and might not like those things as much as I think right now.

I was actually in a much better mood last school year, I didn’t think at all about the college experience, I just focused on enjoying myself during my free time and doing well in my classes.

Lately, I’ve been falling behind in my classes and have been feeling stressed about my grades, I came to CC hoping to get much better grades than I did in HS, since back then they were all over the place. I had also crammed for a midterm I took this week. It’s been making me feel extreme guilty of how I have managed my time. I also dropped a 4 credit math class, bringing me down from 19 credits to 15 (I knew it was a crazy amount, but I didn’t think I would be as distracted as I’ve been this fall so far).

My sleep schedule has also been very irregular, and I’m highly dependent on sleep meds so I’m sure that’s part of it. I feel bad for not starting to look at colleges for transferring yet, and am worried about my grades this semester turning out bad, hurting my chances at reach schools I would apply to.

I would fluctuate between being in a very bad mood, feeling lonely thinking about how I’m at home and online at CC while almost all other schools are fully in person with lots of students having vibrant social lives, partying and living their best lives, and the possibility of not getting into good colleges because my fall grades would turn out bad; to being in a very good mood, confident or hopeful that my hard work will pay off giving me good grades, and not feeling lonely at all, remembering that I lots of ways to enjoy being by myself and that I don’t want a social life right now, since I should be busy with school and looking at schools for transferring. A lot of times, my mood would fluctuate like that in a matter of mere minutes.

You need to make an appointment with your doctor, to discuss.


Well, I do see a therapist and will talk to him about it next time. I posted this to see if anyone wanted to share stories or whatnot.

I think there are many young adults like you with similar concerns, thoughts and feelings. Stay positive, talk to your therapist, try to have fun with some friends and do your best to take care of yourself!


You are not alone! Everyone experiences situations differently at times. Something you’re grateful to be alone, other times, it feels isolating or boring. Sometimes you’re excited about doing an activity, other times it feels like an imposition. Often this depends on what else is going on in your life. If you’ve had something happen in your life that makes you sad – the loss of a parent, for example – it’s normal for that sadness to pervade your life for a while.

The good thing about having a therapist is that you can explore why you feel the way you do and gauge whether your emotions seem appropriate to your situation and whether they are getting in the way if having a productive life. For any variety of reasons, it’s possible to experience feelings that interfere with everyday life. Therapy can help in processing these.

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Sounds like mild depression. It’s something that you may want to discuss with your doctor. Sometimes when there’s chemical imbalance in our body it affects our moods. Also it’s important to get a lot of sun if you are able too. Taking Vit D supplement is one way to help you if you don’t get out much. I wish you all the best.

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At an extreme level, mood swings can be a sign of bipolar disorder (there is more than one kind). But it is common at your age to have “mood swings.” I would rely on your therapist’s judgment: if they think a psychiatrist is in order for meds, then that is a path you can take, for anti-depressants or meds for other mood issues.

I can tell you for sure that many students who are at a 4 year residential college are also struggling! It is not always as you imagined.

I would go easy on yourself with the credits you are taking on. There is no rush! If you don’t get applications in for a transfer, that is okay too. Be good to yourself.

COVID has been a trauma for everyone and I find that young people are not recognizing this. Forced isolation over a relatively long period can make reentering social life hard for everyone.

You do not have to be all or nothing about any of this, about your school path or your social life. Start with small steps and readjust. We are all doing that to some extent, and the uncertainty that continues is very hard on people your age.


Wonderful that you’re seeing a therapist, but you need to make an appointment with a medical doctor. You’re having symptoms that could be consistent with depression or bipolar disorder.

Dependence on sleep meds can require help. Withdrawal can bring a lot of problems. In our experience doctors often taper people too quickly. Get some knowledgeable help on getting off and then also help with sleep itself.

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Coming from firsthand experience, sleeps meds can be habit forming and disrupt natural sleep. They’re good to take during bouts of insomnia, but not good for the long term. A good alternative is to go to the drug store and pick up some melatonin in the vitamin section. Also, put away the phone and video games 1-2 hours before going to bed. Read your physics book…that’ll put you to sleep real fast!

If dependency has developed, you can’t just stop. You may need medical help too get off. Use a slow taper.