With newfound freedom comes newfound responsibilities. Balancing the two in a healthy way is a challenge every college student faces.
The adjustment is nearly instantaneous for some, while others need weeks or months to learn how to manage their new normal. Paying attention to your mental and emotional wellbeing during this acclimation period and throughout the rest of your college experience is crucial.
College is the first time many students are away from their families and hometowns for an extended period of time, resulting in homesickness and lack of comfort in an unfamiliar setting. Staying connected to family and old friends is important, but it is also important to branch out at school.
Along with a yearning for home, college students are faced with an academic schedule far more rigorous than the one to which they are accustomed.
In my opinion, time management and self-care are necessary for battling the profound stress of college life. I find it incredibly important to make time for activities that keep me feeling my best mentally and emotionally, while also staying on top of my responsibilities as a student.
Besides my classes and club meetings on any given day, I make time to do what I know will make me feel good. My priorities include doing homework, eating good food, spending time with friends, exercising and connecting with my family.
Finding a balance between my stressors and the activities I enjoy is extremely beneficial, though I also recognize that not everyday will be perfect.
Some days are far busier than others, but implementing little things that align with my priorities gives me the fulfillment I need to keep going even when extremely stressed. For example, sometimes the only time I have to socialize is spent holed up in the library with some friends, but it is still impactful.
Along with time management and self-care, there are numerous resources on and off campus to help students adjust to college life and the stress that comes with it.
University Counseling & Psychological Services offers free, confidential support to students who are struggling with mental health issues. The Office of First-Year Experience is specifically tailored to help freshmen adjust to Lehigh, and Disability Support Services is a resource for those with mental and physical impairments.
Students can also reach out to national resources, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 800-662-4357 and Crisis Text Line: text CONNECT to 741741.
Feeling overwhelmed, nervous, stressed, sad or lonely at school is completely normal and is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It is important to recognize when you are feeling this way and seek help.