It’s a time for new beginnings!
It’s a new chapter in life, but it feels like a whole new book!
Freshman year is a year of first and forevers. This is a time when new friends will be made, and experiences will yield life-long lessons. This year of learning and transition will be exciting, yet stressful. One thing that needs to be maintained is during this time is your mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, As you head off to begin the next phase in life, here are 5 tips that will help you have a mentally healthy freshman year.
Designate your support system NOW!!
You will have happy, sad, and WTF moments the entire year, have a person to call and share these moments with. Real life situations will happen and you may not have your family and close friends close by. Get your family up to speed on using how to use Facetime, Oovo or Glide and email if necessary. Set up group chats if your close friends that are going to different schools because sometimes they will be the only ones that will understand those WTF moments!
Exercise is an important habit to work into our daily routines. Not only will a regular routine help keep the “Freshman 15” away, but it will keep your mind fresh. Balancing a college workload, a social life and sleep can be stressful, and one of the best ways to alleviate stress is to get moving. Head to your schools gym/rec center to shoot some hoops, treadmill time, or a Zumba class. SN-This is a good way to see and meet upperclassman too!
Learn your school’s resources!
During orientation is a great time to ask about the services on campus. Some schools may offer counseling with professionals while others may offer peer-to-peer counseling. Some services may have a fee, but there should be some services that are covered by the cost of tuition. Your residence hall staff is a great place to ask questions about available resources.
More than likely your school as social media accounts, and that is a great place to find out what events are happening on campus! Join interest groups, attended meetings, form study groups, and volunteer. Ask when your roommate or neighbors are having lunch or dinner and ask to join them! Your professor may offer or know of study groups, or campus organizations, so don’t be afraid to ask. One of the most important things you need while in college and once you leave college is your network, so work on building a good one.
Keeping a diary or journal can be therapeutic during tough times. It is also a great way to keep those college memories forever! Do a recap of your week, or write about your frustrations. Physical journals that require the use of pen and paper may seem outdated, and if you’re one of those millennials, then there are a few journaling apps available.
Just say no to drugs and alcohol
Maybe this should have been number one, lol! As we all know drugs are illegal and so is alcohol by those under 21 years old. What many people don’t understand is that drugs affect the chemicals in your brain. Different people have different reactions to drugs, plus if there is a history of mental illness in your family, using drugs can increase the chance you may develop a mental illness as well. People drink for various reasons, if you drink because you are stressed or because you “loosen up” after a few drinks review the tips above.
If you are reading this have passed your freshman year, what tips do you have for upcoming freshman? If you are a freshman, what tips will you use to increases your likelihood of having a mentally healthy freshman year?