As much as college may seem like a carefree lifestyle full of drinking, partying and sex, many people don’t realize just how much of a strain the college lifestyle can have on your overall mental health. There is a distinctly different frame of main that comes to fruition once you leave high school and enter college world, which is why the mental health of so many students begins to deteriorate, to varying degrees. We’ll discuss exactly what that frame of mind is, along with how to approach it while in college.
In high school, life was a relative breeze. You had parents who took care of everything for you, and close friends that made every moment fun. There’s a reason so many people are so nostalgic for those high school days, and it is because it represented a time when life was not just simple, but good. The only time things really got serious was when it came to your senior year of high school and thinking about your post-graduation plans, particularly deciding which college you would go to (and in some cases deciding if you would take a gap year or two first). But even then there was not too much pressure yet, simply because your career still felt lightyears away.
When you are actually in college though, and have to start thinking about your career which is the very next step after you graduate from college, that pressure becomes that much more real. Said another way, although high school is a huge stepping stone in your eventual career trajectory, college is the actual stepping stone that directly translates to your career success. So even if you may have slacked off in high school, you are well aware that if you slack off in college there will be more real and long-lasting consequences, which only adds to the pressure of succeeding in college.
This sort of mindset and pressure to succeed afflicts many college students, whether they realize it after first getting onto campus during their freshman year, or whether they only realize it during their senior year when their post-college life is now staring them in the face. And while it may be easy to just focus only on academics, that ends up removing you from the aspects of college that are fun and equally worthwhile. So how do you keep your mental health in check while you navigate your college years? The key is to simply act in moderation.
Maintaining an equal balance of studying along with partying (or whatever social activities you personally engage in) is helpful first off because the less time you spend studying and worrying about your grades or your career, the less stress you end up having. However, what is often overlooked is the fact that actively engaging in something fun and exciting in lieu of studying actually reduces your stress levels more so than if you were to just use that time doing something more neutral in nature (i.e. something neither fun nor stressful). So the key is not to just spend less time studying, but to spend that extra time actually doing something fun to actively keep your mental health in check.
College is a mixture of academics, social happenings, and other life-changing experiences. Although your working towards your dream job may seem like the main aspect of going to college, it is only part of the equation. As long as you can find the right balance of work and play, and everything in between, you can get through your college years not only without suffering from mental health issues that so often plague college students, but also in a way that is fun and enjoyable, making your overall college experience one that you are able to look back upon fondly later on in life.