The Freshman Wellness Guide: How I’m Staying Mentally Healthy

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Entering the university realm for the first time can be intimidating. The unfamiliar environment, dormitory life, the absence of loved ones, and the inevitability of growing up are all things we are anxious about- and that is normal. However, letting your worrisome and sorrowful emotions consume you will only hinder your ability to succeed in the next four years of university. 

As a college freshman, I am in the same boat as all of you; I too worry about my success and ability to academically perform well. To help aid you in making university a fun experience, I will share some helpful tips on how to stay healthy mentally at university.                                       

Exercise 

I have a routine where every morning I head to the university’s gym and exercise for about 45 minutes. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, exercising regularly can help you destress and lower symptoms of depression and anxiety. Research by Maryam Eltomy from Kean University shows that the more you exercise, the higher your GPA is (see: figures 10 and 11). 

Socialize

You’ll be at university for four years, so making friends is the ideal situation. Depending on how far you are from your previous home, you are unlikely to see your old high school friends anytime soon. On account of me living six hours away, I entered university not knowing anybody besides my roommate.

Attending social gatherings organized by the school is one of the best ways to make friends. If school events aren’t your thing, then just walk up to someone and start up a conversation. The start of a beautiful friendship can be as simple as saying, “Hey, I like your clothes.” Remember, everyone is in the same boat as you; it’s OK to approach a fellow student and introduce yourself. They are likely to appreciate it. 

Join Clubs & Organizations

Waking up, attending class, studying, and sleeping is both a very boring and stressful routine.  To add some excitement to your daily procedure, participating in a school club or organization will be beneficial towards your mental health. Ashley Ingram from The BHS Beat Organization said “joining a club of interest can improve students’ social lives by allowing them to meet others with common interests, which can be beneficial to [your] wellbeing.” 

Get Organized

Forming a consistent schedule can do wonders for your mental health. Once university starts, you’ll quickly discover that balancing your academics, extracurriculars, and social life is difficult. Amherst College’s page on time management presents good examples of how to stay organized. Some of the key points I’d like to highlight from the article are using a calendar, planning ahead, being flexible and prioritizing tasks. These are all things that I do to lower my probability of stress throughout the day. 

View the Campus As Your New Home

Research done by Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA reveals that 66% of college freshmen experience feelings of loneliness and homesickness. One of the biggest reasons why we feel homesick is because we are constantly telling ourselves that the dormitory isn’t our home. 

For those of you who haven’t noticed, I described the home in which you lived with your parents or loved ones as your “previous home.” This is because we need to get used to the idea that our new home is here on campus. I know this may become challenging for some- including myself- but the more we tell ourselves that we aren’t home, the worse our mental health will become. 

A college student’s ability to succeed academically is highly dependent on the state of their mental health. Poor mental health can be attributed to a lack of motivation and difficulty in concentration; this can result in unsatisfactory grades. In order to prevent yourself from insufficiency, I highly recommend you follow the tips stated above.

How are you staying healthy mentally? Let us know at @HerCampusSJSU.





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