As September approaches, a loaded schedule full of classes, extracurriculars, hobbies and socializing looms on the horizon for many college students.
To be honest, it's pretty overwhelming, especially with Rutgers being as large as it is and the sheer amount of newness that comes along with the college experience. If you start to struggle, it's important to remember that you are not alone, and things can get better with a little bit of planning and determination.
After much trial and error, here are my top tips for maintaining your mental health.
Take care of your physical well-being
Studies show that good physical health correlates with mental health. I would recommend eating healthy foods and engaging in physical activity at one of the University’s gyms.
Establish a balance
Set a schedule for when you’re going to study and when you’re going to relax. This will help you to stay motivated throughout the semester and will also set you up for success down the road when you enter the workforce, and no one's telling you what to do.
Take breaks while working
While classes may start off slowly, workload and difficulty will escalate throughout the semester. It’s important to take breaks when studying to work more efficiently and make the most of your education. I like to use the Pomodoro Technique while studying. I would also recommend meditating to reset your mind during long periods of work.
A strong support system will help alleviate feelings of stress and isolation, especially since many students can relate to mental health struggles in relation to academia. Rutgers has a plethora of clubs and activities for students to get involved in, and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends, even if it might seem awkward at first. Remember, a lot of other students want to make friends, too!
Use mental health services
Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. Rutgers offers counseling for psychiatric services, substance abuse and crisis intervention, among others, all of whom want to help you be safe, healthy and happy during your college years.
Whenever you feel yourself panicking, whether it be about an exam, your workload for the night or the embarrassment of being late to class and having to walk in front of everyone to find a seat, take a deep breath. It'll be okay. You've got this. I promise.
Good luck with classes!