Being driven, focused, and accomplished while in college is great. It’s part of the reason why we’re here. But at what expense? Sometimes we’re so focused on the obstacles and assignments that college brings, that we completely ignore the state of our wellbeing. Yes, there will times where you will give up sleep to finish a paper. And yes, there will be other times that you skip meals in order to cram for a midterm. But when you catch yourself starting to feel an intense feeling of sadness or extreme anxiety a majority of the time, there are much bigger problems than the ones on your homework.
Unfortunately, depression is at an all-time high among college students. I believe that this goes without saying, but college is stressful. It’s not necessarily the school work in itself that’s impossible to manage, but it is the combination of school work, jobs, practice, organizations, etc. that is what gets overwhelming for most people.
We are constantly told throughout college to get good grades, strive for multiple internships, make connections, among hundreds of other things. But why are we not told to make sure that the state of our mental health is okay? I guess it’s because we’re subliminally being told that it is normal to be stressed or on edge 24/7 for the sake of a college education. We’re so used to seeing and hearing about college students having mental breakdowns and contemplating suicide, that we’re almost desensitized to it. You might think that your unhappy mental state is normal, but it’s not. Common? Yes. But normal? Not a chance. Nothing, not even finishing up your double major in four years, is worth your sense of peace.
My advice to any college student is take everything one step at a time. Take control of the situation before it takes control of you. Also, never be afraid to seek help. Whether that be from a counselor, tutor, or even a coworker; never feel like you’re alone. In addition, here are three suggestions to make life easier if you’re feeling like college is getting the best of you:
- Write it out. Write down everything that has you feeling stressed or uneasy. You’d be surprised that writing down your worries is not only therapeutic, but it gives you a chance to visualize and set goals accordingly.
- Walk/Work it out. Sometimes all you need is to take a walk. Don’t be afraid to step outside or get in a quick workout to relieve some stress and recharge.
- Play It Out. It has been said that the only thing that worrying can achieve is stress. Some things are just beyond your control, so just let it play itself out. Sometimes, things work out better than you could have ever hoped for.
College will be a time in your life where you will achieve and learn more than you ever thought possible. Work hard, be about your business, focus on your focus, but more importantly: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Bianca Long is a senior strategic communication major. Give her and her advocacy for mental health a shout out on Twitter @msbianca_long.