BY ANTON LUCANUS
If you have made the decision to go to university, you are likely already feeling the winds of change. Going to university is amazing, and there are so many upsides to elevating your education through university or college, but it also comes with its challenges. Higher education demands a kind of accountability that compulsory schooling does not – you make the decision of if you want to go to university or college, and you alone are responsible for carrying out and committing to your studies. This is an easy enough concept to grasp, but it is a little more difficult to put into action sometimes. The single, best piece of advice that any university student can get is to make sure that they take care of themselves above all else. Grades are important, school is important, but nothing is worth sacrificing your health. First and foremost, your biggest responsibility is to yourself – even when that is difficult to remember amid the chaos of university or college life.
Students around the world find themselves under immense pressure throughout the school year. Going to university demands a standard of dedication towards assignments, examinations, and research. There always comes that inevitable point during the semester when it feels like you have more assessment than hours in the day, and competing (and acing) it all seems near impossible. During these busy times of the school year, many students sacrifice sleep, social time, and even shifts at work to get in those precious extra hours of study time. It is also during these times that it becomes a peak time of mental health strains among students. With so much going on at the one time, it is easy to get lost in the chaos.
Thankfully, there are now multiple tools and support systems that you can access to give you the assistance that you need, when you need it most, including online course groups (support systems), school psychologists (professional support), and even assignment help from experts (channels to ease the stress). The increase of campus treatment centres over the last few years speaks volumes of the issue at hand. While struggling with mental health as a student can make life at university feel like the loneliest place in the world, you are never alone. With thousands of individuals around you every day you are on campus, it is important to know the support channels in case you ever need them – especially if you have moved away from home to attend the university or college that you go to.
There should be at least one registered psychologist on campus, as well as student support groups that are available to bring together those that find themselves in similar circumstances – there is much to be said about comradery. Actively building friendships is another of the best things you can do to strengthen your mental health. When you have a few select people around university that you can trust and that have your back, it makes talking about the struggles easier – again, especially if you have moved away from home and your familiar, usual support network. Never underestimate the power of meeting new people – again, comradery runs deep.
Your mental health should always be your top priority. The stresses that will inevitably come with studying could potentially bring with them additional struggles as well, such as not living up to expectations (your own or of others), feeling inadequate, not feeling supported, and feeling lost in the chaos of what can feel like limitless work. It is not uncommon for students to feel like they are not being supported, and while it is likely not the intention of universities and colleges to make their students feel this way, they need to make the available channels more openly public. Universities and colleges have the means and the reasons to make all students aware of the available support networks, but for some reason the general awareness among students regarding these systems falls between the cracks sometimes. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, actively seek out channels that can help you; some students even make it their business to know how and where to find these channels before they have need of them, and it ends up being incredibly helpful down the road.
At university, you are constantly in a state of studying; whether it be research, revision, assessment writing, or examination preparation, there is always an element of your degree that demands your attention. University (or college) is one of the most rewarding things that you can do for yourself (if that is something that you want to do), but it also comes with immense challenges that should not be underestimated. During your time as a student, you will find yourself feeling the pressures of university life. It is always so important for you to ensure that you are taking care of your mental health, but as a student who is more susceptible to additional stresses and pressures, you must make a conscious effort to consistently check in with yourself, and take the appropriate measures to keep yourself healthy. Courses can be taken again, but you only have one life.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals.