A College Student's Guide On How Not To Have A Mental Breakdown
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Health and Wellness

A College Student's Guide On How Not To Have A Mental Breakdown

College doesn't mean waving good-bye to your mental well being.

A College Student's Guide On How Not To Have A Mental Breakdown
Jasminder Bains

I want to abolish the notion that pursuing an undergraduate education means learning to smile even when your life looks and feels like a dumpster fire. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting that degree aren't mutually exclusive. Counter to popular belief, it's possible to get through most of the academic year without falling apart at the seams.

The key is prevention and that's what I'm discussing in this article.

1. Look ahead. But not too far ahead.

I officially graduate college in 4 quarters from now. I'm not yet ready to think about life after college (I was passively suicidal for most of my teenager years so go figure.) I choose not to think that far ahead; instead, I focus on what I can do now to prepare.

Graduate school for a Psychology major means lots of research, so I'm investigating my research interests inside and outside the classroom. This way I can be a step ahead when it's time to apply to graduate school, and I don't have to silently freak out while checking for APA-accredited PhD programs for Clinical Psychology. 10/10 wouldn't recommend.

2. Practice self-care all throughout the academic year.

I'm looking at you overnight yogis/herbal tea connoisseurs/self love and confidence warriors. Self care, much like skincare, works best when it's performed consistently. If you really needed an excuse to sip chamomile tea every afternoon...now you have one!

I do want to preface this and say you shouldn't beat yourself up if you don't do allllll the things everyday. Self care is meant to make you feel good; it's not supposed to become yet another outlet for inner self critics to nitpick. *sips tea*

3. Get a support system.

It takes a village because no one man, woman, enby, transman/woman, etc. is a mountain. It's not only ridiculous, but harmful, to expect any one individual to have all the answers. If your college has "free" (they're included in your tuition most likely) resources, use them!

Find an academic advisor you can trust, establish a relationship with a psychologist/therapist in the Counseling Center, make friends at your own pace, lean on family and relatives if at all possible, talk to professors in office hours even if you've never had them for a class, and make connections with any other relevant people I haven't mentioned too.

One of my favorite things about university is how willing people are to help you. If you catch them at a good time, most professors/advisors/etc. can straight up change your life. Assuming you assign their words that much importance.

4. Know that it’s okay to not be having “the college experience.”

Whatever that's anyway. I think there's no single experience that every student will have because we're all unique people with different paths and goals in life. Of course, society will try to put us into boxes anyway because our uniqueness forces others to take more than a few seconds to understand us.

But that's a story for another post! I just want to emphasize that you don't have to live up to any artificial standards imposed on you by society. Seriously. Nobody will care if you're a virgin, don't drink alcohol or do drugs, have never dated anyone, etc etc. College students are way too sleep deprived and zoned out to even bat an eye at people running around in octopus suits, ramen onesies, dinosaur outfits, etc.

I'm speaking from personal experiences on the last one.

5. If you were in therapy before, keep going!

This applies to anything you were doing before university that kept you afloat. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and keep doing what worked for you before. I know it sounds like common sense, but I tried to not go to therapy when I first entered university because I thought I was perfect and had no more problems to work through.

I was wrong and I know I'm not the only person who has tried or may try this. So consider this is a friendly word of advice!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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