When I first entered college, I thought I was super prepared for the next four years. I was going a state university and I had taken a fair share of AP courses and graduated with a high GPA. Plus,my work ethic was great ,and I was great with time management. Point is, I felt very confident that I would excel in college. Four years later, I find that I’m not where I thought I would be post graduation. College was much harder for me than I expected, but not for the reason that I expected.
If I could give advice to incoming or current or current college students, it would be to be to take care of your mental health. I didn’t realize how much having a poor mental health could be so damaging to my time in college. After coming to college, I lost the comfort and safety of home and on a mental level I didn’t know how to handle it. I experienced anxiety and depression when adjusting to a new environment and to new people. I failed to address that college was mentally burdening on me and because of it, my schoolwork suffered. My sleep and my diet were also suffering as a result of bad mental health. I was too busy freaking about how to fit into the college crowd and how to talk to the professor that taught my large lecture classes that sometimes I’d find myself just going on YouTube as an outlet.
I wish I knew how important it was to take care of my mental health. I wish I could have addressed my anxieties in more positive ways and tried harder to avoid going through periods of depression while in college. Even now, I feel like I’m feeling the effects of four years of anxiety. Growing up, I was always surrounded by people who were goal driven and they didn’t worry about things as much as I did. I wish that there was someone in my life who could’ve told me that it’s okay to worry at times and also could’ve taught me how to deal with the constant anxiety of college that affecting my mental health.
SOURCE OF MENTAL INSTABILITY
Growing up, I lacked a lot of confidence. I was always a follower. I always listened to what my parents told me to do. I did what the other kids were doing because it was cool. I never was given the opportunity to build on my confidence. This was why my mental health suffered in college. College is filled people who are pursing paths different from yours. There is no rubric for how to ace college. I wished that I had known for the sake of my sanity how it important it was to be confident in what I was doing. I wish that someone could’ve told me that I didn’t have to base my success on what others thought of me. I wish that I could’ve learned that I shouldn’t worry about what others thought of me just as long as I was happy with myself. Rather than wallowing in my room, I wish that I could have had the confidence to get out of my comfort zone and take part in new and unfamiliar activities. I wish that I had the confidence to speak what was on my mind rather than wallow all day. I wish that someone close to me would’ve told me to have confidence in what I believed in and that all other things, such as friends and academic success, would follow as a result.
HOW TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH
How people choose to tackle their mental health varies. I found that I as I’ve gotten older, I’ve relied on exercise to be more mentally stable. Even on days when I’m feeling depressed or overwhelmed, I find that if I push myself to go for a walk or do yoga I am happier and calmer afterwards. In addition, listening and singing along to a playlist is great way to relieve stress. Sometimes, crying is necessary as well.
The most important thing for your mental health is to be confident in what you are doing. Be confident in your ability to make new friends. Be confident enough in yourself to talk to your parents about what’s bothering you. Be confident enough to do what makes you happy, not what will lessen the judgement of others towards you.
I wish that someone could’ve told me before college how important it was to maintain a healthy psyche. However, it’s never too late to learn this lesson. Success in and out of college is all in the mind.