For all the Returning College Freshmen:

Affirmations only happen once you are already successful:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,

I just completed my freshman year away at art school.  I loved it. I did well and all was great. Now I am home and it is a different story. I find myself anxious, obsessing over my looks and weight, and overall miserable. I thought I had overcome all these issues as for this entire year at school there were no issues.

What gives? There is nothing out of the usual at home and no crisis but I cannot stop feeling this way.

Obsessive Oscar

Dear Oscar

At school you probably created and led a life that was true to yourself. No one knew anything about you, so there were no expectations to meet but your own. Now, being home, you are reverting to, and being treated, the way you were prior to leaving. This probably means it is difficult for you to say no, set boundaries, or disappoint the expectations of others. You are putting on the required act to please or placate others.

Unfortunately, our culture reinforces these issues. I call it wearing different hats for different situations; it’s something we learn in school. “PUT ON YOUR THINKING HAT.”  Unfortunately, a different hat for different situations can create chaos and confusion and become a complicated lie.

You need to teach people how to love you; no one knows who you are if you don’t show them. You probably did just that in college, but at home, your parents (and possibly even your friends) do not know you. You never taught them who you were.

Trying to be something you aren’t is exhausting and confusing. Even though most people do it with the best of intentions (to be nice, or not burden others) it is never worth it.  Be yourself; over time, others will get used to you and that will be the new expectation.

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Granny says: imagine that you are a dog. You were raised in a kennel and that was all you knew and it was fine because you didn’t know anything else. Now imagine you got adopted by a family and went to live in an exciting new neighborhood where you met new friends and had a new life, and fields to run in, and all sorts of interesting things to do.

Now, imagine your family went on vacation and put you back in the kennel while they were gone. Yup. That’s where you are right now. Stuck in the kennel again while your new life is on vacation.

Don’t worry. The kennel is no longer your home. Vacation will soon be over and you will return to your new life. You’ve just got dem old kennel blues. I suggest you learn to play the harmonica.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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