While going away to college for many students seems like a blast, others dealing with internal struggles would agree otherwise. With me, the stress and new surroundings of college life did not become too much for me my second semester my freshman year.
If you are like me and struggling with either depression or anxiety while leaving home to go away to college try these 10 things to try and make your experience at college better and exciting.
Get Involved With Groups On Campus.
Getting involved on campus might seem hard, but it is actually super easy! Whether you want to rush in hopes of joining a sorority or fraternity, finding groups to join can be a breeze. If sorority/ fraternity life is not for you, finding groups that suit your interests might be a better route.
No matter what college you choose there are numerous groups and organizations to suit anyone's needs, whether it be freshmen only groups, ones to do with your major or your religious beliefs. Being part of these social groups will help introduce you to new people and hopefully make your college experience all the better.
Keep a Journal or Diary
Being away from college, especially if you are far from home and having to find new friends and adapt to all new surroundings can make some days seem harder than others. By writing down your daily experiences, including your fears and struggles will help clear your mind and for some even ease any anxiety you might have. I know for me writing down, not just the good, but even the bad times helped me cope with my depression because I could look back on previous days and experiences throughout my freshmen year and realize that no matter how scary and stressful college got at times, it was all worth it at the end of the day.
In my experience reading back over my journaling, I realized there are way more good days and experiences than there are the bad.
Making new friends may seem like a scary task but I was super glad to have put myself out there and made the friends that I now have. Sometimes you can get so accustomed to hanging out with the same friends and doing the same things, that when you open yourself up and introduce yourself to new friends, you find you become uplifted and usually you will find yourself doing new things that you may have never done before.
Just know that new friends can come with new opportunities and experiences that can change your life for the better!
Put yourself out there, you never know the wonderful people you can meet along the way by just taking one leap of faith!
Go to a Party or Two
Going to parties does not always mean getting drunk and going wild. There are plenty of parties/ events that take place on campuses such as back to school dances, outdoor concerts, balls, Halloween carnivals, etc. Going to these events will help you meet new people, get involved on campus and overall have a fun time.
If you decide to join either a sorority or fraternity you will make brothers and sisters along the way and go to the house events and parties with them can help keep you more socially active.
I know big parties and other social events might not be everyone's norm, but even the smallest of get-togethers can make the biggest difference in your life especially if you are trying to cope with social anxiety, feeling lonely or just overall being unhappy with life. For me, small get-togethers such as movie nights with friends and other dorm events were the way to go.
Binge Your Favorite Show/ Movie
On days where socializing with others seems like the worst thing ever, having time for yourself can always be refreshing. Some days staying in bed and binging your favorite show or movie can recharge your batteries and make you feel all better.
I love finding a good new series and being able to just stay home in bed, especially after you have had a couple of long stressful days where you feel like the world is ending. Having that alone time for yourself is so important, and binge-watching your favorite show or movie is a perfect way to escape all the stress and chaos that you feel around you.
Call Up Your Best Friend
Keeping in contact with your friends from home is a great way to alleviate homesickness. No matter if you need to vent about someone that bugged you in class or tell them about the A+ you got on your English assignment you know they will always answer and listen and make you feel better. There is nothing more refreshing than a phone call with your best friend. Do not worry about bothering them by calling too much, if they are at college too, they need you as much as you need them. With my best friend, I know I probably called or texted her at least three times a day.
Definitely reach out to them when you feel at your lowest, by just hearing a familiar voice from back home can make all the difference and bring a smile to your face.
Go For A Run/ Gym
Working out is a great stress reliever. In my experience getting out of my room and hitting the gym with my roommates was a way for me to relieve my stress and worries about the day. Working out does not just help with your anxiety and clearing your head of the depressing matters of the day, but it also helps keep you fit and healthy. Living the life of a college student, especially if you live in a dorm is not always the easiest when it comes to staying healthy; so go hit the gym or go on a nice run around campus to not only keep you fit and healthy but also give you the time you need to clear your head and start your mind fresh for the next day.
Dance it out
Music is a cure for any soul, I know for me it helped get me through even the darkest of times. Personally, when feeling down or depressed, music will completely change my mood. Depending on what I am going through, depends on the genre of music that I decided to put on.
No matter what genre of music you prefer, put in your headphones or blare your stereo and let loose! All of your worries, anxiety, stress, and depression that you are feeling will slowly melt away!
Calling home and talking to your mom or dad can change anybody's mood! Talking to your parents/ guardian might not seem like the coolest thing to do when away at college, but I promise you it is the best medicine!
Whenever I am going through something or just feeling down or upset I immediately pick up the phone and call my mom. My mom is my biggest supporters and one of my best friends, I know that no matter what the time or reason she will answer my call in a heartbeat. She always has the right words to say to encourage me and lift me up!
No one knows you better than your family so do not be afraid to call home when you feel down!
There are several places that will offer you help when you are depressed and anxious. Most colleges that I know of have programs and help centers for this specific reasoning that will give college students free counseling and guidance to deal with their feelings. There are also other ways you can seek help off campus to and that can be done through a church, therapist and other aids to assist you.
I know talking in person and admitting or expressing your feelings and thoughts especially when you have anxiety or depression can be tough for many people, the good news is that you can seek help over the phone and talk to a specialist and other peers at whatever time is convenient for you.
There are so many options offered to help aid anyone going through or experiencing depression and anxiety and medications your doctor can prescribe you that can help! Always know that giving up is never the solution, and I can attest to that first hand! Do not be afraid to seek help, there are so many others fighting the same battle as you in the world and we can all help one another overcome them!