We’ve all heard the reports, listened to the lectures, gone to the workshops, but what arrre all these things lacking? Relatable stories. Experts can say ‘this is how you should deal with stress’, or certain situations, but it really takes one to know one, and as a student I can relate to the stresses and worries that come with college. The pressure to perform academically, to be the best you can be, to pass all exams, maintain some form of a social life while juggling friends, family, relationships, extra curriculars, and a part-time job; did I miss anything? It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to further your education but with it comes the good and the bad.
It’s hard to adjust in the beginning when you first settle in; being away from home for the first time; living with totally new people; taking classes you’ve never done before; trying to figure out how to cook and make your way around. It does test people, I know homesickness can be a very horrible feeling in the beginning and it does create a negative mindset, all you want is your mom and your friends and to go home where you know your way and everything is familiar. In the early days it’s important to mind yourself and look out for friends as well, it could be you or someone you know who isn’t settling in right or finds the place a bit lonesome. It’s important to watch out for each other because feeling low isn’t great and it can affect your college work and make you antisocial .Be careful if you or someone you know isn’t okay, take the time to introduce them to your friend group, or go explore the city together, take the day off college and get to know your surroundings because the next three/four years of your life will be spent here.
College can be rough at times when you feel a bit lost, for some people it takes a while to settle into their course and for others it’s almost instant. It’s a tough time when you don’t like what you’re studying, or if it didn’t work out how you planned. It makes going to lectures and tutorials that bit more difficult and it doesn’t make college life any easier with the worry and doubt going on in the back of your mind while everyone else seems to have their lives together. Honestly it takes some getting used to, nothing falls into place over night, it takes work and practice and a bit of faith to keep you going.
We all have our bad days, and maybe it’s because we’re far from home or the fact that we’re on our own but sometimes a bad day can feel like it’s never-ending in college. It’s difficult to talk about our mental health because of the stigma surrounding it. No one is alone but sometimes it feels that way, while there are support systems in college it can be very hard for students to find the time to go and talk to someone, especially with the pressures around exams and midterms. We tend to ignore any signs of trouble for as long as possible and hope that we’ll feel better soon, but really we could all do with a chat every now and then, even if it’s just a cup of tea with a housemate or grabbing lunch with a friend taking five minutes to talk can really make a difference.
So how can you keep it together in college? By being honest with yourself and your friends. If you find yourself in a bad way or that everything seems to be too much, talk to a friend, a housemate, a doctor, a parent or a college counsellor, because we’re all in the same boat here, your mental health is your responsibility so take care of it. Damage to our mental health is like a broken bone, painful and can take time to heal, except unlike a broken bone no one can see the pain you’re in, and that’s the scariest part. Suffering in silence, is not a coping mechanism, it can damage your mental health even more, so stand up and talk, because there isn’t a problem that can’t be solved by a cup of tea and a chat.