As we roll into our third week of classes, I think I can safely say that most of us are feeling a bit overwhelmed. Even as we are shake off the summer feeling, the coursework keeps on coming.
For some, it may not be the summer. It may be the fact that you are a freshmen and this is the first time you have ever encountered this much work. Or you could be a Senior, squeezing in as many credit hours as you can so that you can make it to graduation in the May or December.
Whatever it is, it is easy to just brush it off and pretend like you can handle it.
I am not suggesting that not all of us can handle it, because I know there are some who thrive under pressure. But for some of us (myself included), the pressure can sometimes consume us. We start to panic and believe that there is little we can do but try to stay afloat long enough to see the bitter end of the semester. We attempt to handle it with whatever coping skills we have, and sometimes it is not enough.
But there is something that you can do, and that is ask for help.
When I first came to college, I had this assumption that it meant that I am an adult and completely on my own, and only being able to depend on myself. I kept up with that assumption until the end of my sophomore year. Things started to happen that were out of my control, and as hard as I tried, my grades were slipping and my mental and emotional health was right there along with it.
It wasn’t until I resolved to ask my professors, parents and friends for help that I got out of the stressful abyss.
If I could do anything, it would have been to ask for help in the beginning. Just because you are leaving home does not mean you are alone. The beginning of the year is the best time to establish a support system of newly made friends who are going through the same thing you are.
Introducing yourself to your professors is something that makes a huge difference in your classroom experience. When your professor knows your name and or gets to know you as a person, you feel more comfortable in the classroom and out.
As much as we gripe, professors know we are human and have a lot on our plate. They are some of the best people to contact when you are feelings overwhelmed. They often times have study tactics and time management advice. Depending on the situation, they also are open to giving you that much needed extension on an assignment, as long as you’re honest with them and come to them in the beginning.
Friends also can help ease your stress. If they are fellow students, they all have felt the stress of school. Whatever anyone else tells you, remember that being a college student is challenging, regardless of the stereotypical partying portrayal you see in movies. And your friends in school know that more than anything. Try getting together with them to study, or if that does not work, make sure you take out some time in your week to have a social life. Those little moments make a big difference.
If it gets really bad, and those outlets are not enough. Going to the Counseling Center on campus is not admitting you’re crazy. It is admitting that you believe in yourself enough to make sure you are healthy.
It is natural to feel like you have to take everything on with a smile. But just remember an A on a paper does not justifies jeopardizing your physical and mental health. Pat yourself on the back for even making it to college, because we are among the few in this world. But also, look at it as a positive experience, even when it gets rough, remember that this environment is filled with people that have been there before and know how to help.
Holly Mayer is a junior English major and ethnic studies minor. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org