Aleah Cady, Staff Writer
College can be an exciting, enriching experience. For most young adults, college is their first step into the world of “adulthood”- that may mean living away from home, having a job, paying bills for the first time, and taking on the responsibilities of college-level courses.
College is a different experience for each student, but unfortunately for some, the fun parts of school such as making new friends, or having more freedom, are overshadowed by situations which can be stressful, and make school feel like a burden.
It can be pretty shocking to transition from four years of high school and living at home, and suddenly adapt to a faster-paced, unfamiliar environment which may mean living in a new city, state or even country; moving away from your friends and family, taking six or seven classes at a time, being responsible for student loans or bills, struggling to decide on a major, etc.
These experiences can be especially hard for students with mental illness, or those who struggle with stress. For these students, college can be less of a fun experience, and more of a contributor to their stress and worries. Sadly, the stress of college can often lead to heightened anxiety and depression, sleeping problems, poor school performance, or more serious issues including drug or alcohol abuse.
Some students even drop out of school entirely. According to a 2011 study from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 62% of students who withdrew from college before graduation did so because of poor mental health.
With the increasing prevalence of anxiety among young adults, mental health is being discussed more than ever before on campuses across the nation. Schools are making changes to accommodate students with mental illness, and help them succeed despite their differences.
Luckily at Wingate University, there are a variety of resources available to help students cope with their problems and be successful. One resource is the counseling services. Students can email the counseling department to set up an appointment to meet with a counselor that fits their schedule.
Students are welcome to discuss a variety of concerns from school, to grades, to social life, and beyond. You are meeting with a trained professional who can listen to your concerns, and help you understand your options.
Other helpful resources include the ARC, or Academic Resource Center. ARC offers tutoring services to all Wingate students, free of charge. You can receive help with studying or doing your homework, which can help improve your grades and give you more confidence in school.
If you are a student with a disability, you can turn to Disability Support Services for accommodations in concern to housing, testing, or other specific services that can help you. There are options to make school more comfortable for you, despite what challenges you may be facing.
If you’re a student struggling with mental illness or stress, you are not alone.In addition to reaching out and talking to a professional, you can also make small lifestyle changes to better your mental state.
- Try to get enough sleep. It’s really hard when you have classes all day, and work and assignments to do at night, but try and get a twenty or thirty minute nap into your day, or take advantage of the weekends and get some rest.
- Eat healthy foods, drink water, and exercise. Again, this may require changing your schedule up a bit, but take a few extra minutes a day to think about foods and drinks you’re putting into your body. Also, many studies show that light exercise such as going for a walk, or biking, can reduce stress levels, and improve your grades.
- Avoid taking on too many responsibilities at once. You are at school to learn. Between academics, clubs, sports, work, homework, studying, and a social life, you can easily become overwhelmed. Evaluate what is really important to you, and try and cut out tasks or activities that stress you out. It’s okay to be human, and have weaknesses. Everybody needs a break sometimes.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol in excess. They may feel like a temporary way to relax, but overusing drugs and alcohol use can increase stress levels, and result in more problems to face.
- Know when to ask for help. It can be hard in such a fast-paced society to stop and say “I need help.” However, if you are struggling with self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or any other problems which may threaten your safety, it is important to get help immediately. Listed below are the phone numbers to contact Campus Safety, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. However, always call 911 in an emergency situation.
- Remember that it’s okay to be stressed and worried. You aren’t alone, and it’s okay to cut yourself some slack every now and then. Take time to do things that make you happy, and try to cut out negative situations or people who may bring you down.
If you need help with a situation in which counseling services or any of the other resources mentioned above may not be able to help, here are a list of other resources you may turn to, especially if your safety is at risk:
➔ In an emergency situation, always call 911.
➔ Wingate Police (Non-emergency) (704)–233–5657
➔ Campus Safety (704)–233–8999
➔ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800)-273-8255
Edited by: Brea Childs
Photo from: Google Images