College is stressful. And I’m not just talking the endless deadlines, due dates and pages of reading for class – there’s a whole lot that comprises college life. There’s figuring out how to navigate newfound independence, dealing with peer pressure, homesickness, partying… the list goes on. Understandably, every once in a while, it can all become too much. Where can you turn when you’re feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed?
Luckily many college campuses have a plethora of resources for their students. You are not alone – there are places to go and people to turn to if you’re having a hard time, and you’re not the only one struggling with college life. According to the 2011 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment Reference Group Executive Summary, 21.2% of college students have at least one mental health condition that has been treated or diagnosed. Whether its stress or depression, these 6 campus resources can help you change your semester for the better:
1. Your RA
The purpose of an RA is not just to keep your hall from partying and get you in trouble. Hardly, actually. Your Resident Assistant has likely gone through extensive training on a variety of issues any resident may face and is equipped with the skills and resources to help students. Stop by and chat if you’re having trouble, your RA will know exactly where to point you to find the help you need, whether it’s a listening ear, a campus tutoring program or a referral to campus mental health services. RA’s are super accessible and helpful. As students themselves, they understand what you’re going through and are happy to help.
2. Campus Administrator
Deans and directors at your school all have jobs focused on one central idea: making your life at school better. In the classroom, in the residence halls, at campus events, they work hard to create a community that everyone feels a part of. They want to help. Most deans and program directors have office hours and are easy to get in touch with to set up some time to chat.
3. Health Center
Can’t beat the blues? Head on down to the health center on your campus. They can help you find someone to talk with both on and off campus, and help you figure out if you need to do so. If something like sleep deprivation or alcohol abuse is making you feel down, the campus health center is a good place to go to get your health assessed and discuss your options.
4. Mental Health Services
If you’re overwhelmed at school or feeling down, you may want to set up an appointment with your campus’s mental health services. Many campuses offer free sessions for students (my alma mater offered up to 12 per year!), so you won’t have to worry about whether your health insurance plan covers counseling if you need to talk to someone. Many schools do what they can to make sure students feel comfortable visiting with school counselors and make sure they are accessible to all students.
5. Peer Group
Check to see if your campus has peer counseling. Many schools have anonymous phone lines where you can call and talk with a student counselor. It’s convenient, free and you get to talk to someone who understands the pressures of student life. These lines are typically 24 hours, so if a late night study break is the only time you have to call, you can still get someone on the phone who is happy to listen.
6. Your Network
If you’re struggling this semester, you can always reach out to your friends and family to chat. A quick phone call home to vent about the pressures of college life could take a huge weight off your shoulders. If one of your classes is particularly hard to manage this semester, talking with a friend could help, especially if your friend has taken the class or knows of a great tutoring resource on campus.
Photo credit: anna gutermuth