Mental Health Should Be A Priority In College

Mental Health Should Be A Priority In College

College can take a toll on your mental health.

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The college years are supposed to be the best years of our lives. The experience is new, it's exciting, it's an opportunity to be independent. You make all of these new friends, familiarize yourself with a new campus, and have so many fun things to do at any given moment. It's awesome.

For the most part.

I don't know about you, but in addition to having all of these wonderful experiences and opportunities in college so far, my mental health has also struggled quite a bit. The past few years have honestly been the hardest of my life. Aside from the curveballs life has thrown at me; family deaths, financial struggles, and just the everyday battles with depression and anxiety, college has really tacked on to those things.

It's added an immense amount of pressure and stress on me that I didn't have before. The classes are insanely difficult, even though I am a good student. Balancing a full time job and being a full time student is difficult. Handling more by myself has been an adjustment, since I'm away from my family. And don't even get me started on how much I miss my dogs!

I just want to note that this isn't a call for a pity party. I'm very blessed to be able to even go to school and I'm fortunate in so many aspects of my life. I'm just saying college and all that comes with it is very overwhelming and can be exhausting. And I know that at least for me, it's taken it toll on my mental health.

Life is hard pretty much all the time for different reasons for different people. This isn't at all to claim that your mental health can't suffer if you aren't in college. Not at all. Just simply that college provides its own reasons and situations that may affect us.

That's why it's so important to remember to make your mental health a priority while you're in college. It's so incredibly easy to push it to the side and let it get worse—trust me, I've done it.

There are so many resources and things you can do to not let college get in the way of you being the best version of you. The best advice I've ever gotten in regards to my mental health is this: It's okay to put yourself first, and it's okay to say no. If you don't want to go out this weekend even though you told your friends you would, that's okay. If they're truly your friends, they'll understand.

Making sure to take time for yourself is also absolutely crucial. Aside from doing the things you have to do, make sure you're doing things you want to do. For me, that's journaling and working out.

I do both of those things every single day for the most part. I love journaling because it helps me to get my thoughts out and helps me to make sense of them, which is a big deal for me because my mind is literally always racing. Working out is also a game changer. It just makes me feel so good. All my fellow Legally Blonde fans know how working out gives you endorphins! It's the best.

Besides those things, it's also important to keep in mind that your campus more likely than not has resources available to you when it comes to mental health. At my university, there is a counseling center website students are able to go to where they are able to see the resources available to them. It's okay to ask for help. It's brave. Sometimes it's terrifying, but it's okay.

Whether you're a freshman or a senior, college can really take a toll on your mental health. People say they're the best years of your life, but that can only happen if you don't let your mental health worsen. Take time for yourself, do what makes you feel alive, remind yourself that you can say "no," and always get help if you need it.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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Why Fordham Should Have a Safe Space Policy

On a campus committed to it's student's safety, why is emotional safety left out?

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Last year college Republicans were asked to leave Rodrigue's coffee house for provoking members by wearing pro-Trump attire within the shop. The reason they were asked to leave was because Rodrigue's upholds a "safe space" policy, which can be boiled down to the simple phrase: "No racism. No sexism. No homophobia." In the eyes of the members and patrons of Rod's, Trump embodied all of these things. Regardless of the politics of this specific incident, the phrase and policy seems redundant because this rhetoric can't possibly be allowed anywhere else on campus. Right?

As this incident made campus as well as national news Father McShane addressed the events in an e-mail to all students in which he made it clear he did not condone the approach of the College Republicans, as well as stated that Fordham has no official Safe Space policy and insinuated if it did this would silence voices on campus.

Let's examine what a safe space policy means and why it's important to so many members of the Fordham community. It simply means homophobic, sexist, and racist imagery and speech are not allowed. On a campus with racial minority, female, and queer students who chose to be members of the Fordham community as well as study here, live here, and pay obscene amounts of money to be a student, it does not make sense for these individuals to be subjected to abuses related to their identity. How can you focus in class when your professor misgenders you, a student makes a disparaging comment about your religion, or you fear for your physical safety due to the way you present yourself? Bigoted rhetoric is oppositional to academia.

Fordham is a private university, not a public one, and could easily legislate a basic safe space guideline on campus. I understand many of us that a safe space policy would protect do not experience outward aggression often, if at all, as the University does take steps to ensure our safety. So why no official policy? The answer is simple to me: money. Fordham receives hefty donations from conservative alumni whose own political ideology is contrary to the safe space policy. The choice to not outwardly support minority students is a decidedly economic and political one, despite Father McShane's plea for political peace on campus.

And what is wrong with silencing hateful voices? Tolerance is an incredibly important value, but should tolerance really extend to the intolerant? I found the logic behind not installing the policy as it would politically oppress individuals, incredibly interesting and telling. This means your politics are fatally bigoted and I would take a critical look at that. It's intrinsic to our perception of our school to remember that colleges are businesses and it is sometimes their prerogative to meet economic needs above the needs of their student body. However, this is hopeful. As patrons of this business, we can demand more of them and the most effective way to do this is economical. Invest money in places such as Rodrigue's to expand their voice, have your parents write letters to the school, tell at-risk individuals to not apply, and encourage alumni to earmark their money for minority student initiatives or withhold it unless the school legislates a safe space policy.

We as a student body should care for one another and above all respect the personhood of everyone on and off campus. Consider honoring the policy in your own lives and social circles, and demand Fordham to officially do the same.

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