Welcome to the third and final part in my back-to-school series. This week, I will be focusing on college students. It has been an unfortunate year for all college students. Many Freshman students did not get to enjoy their full college experience, with some starting college completely virtual and others coming home abruptly after their first semester. Students who have been in college have found difficulty adjusting to living back at home with their parents and have had academic challenges from virtual learning. Now that in-person learning is a possibility again, it is only natural to feel both excitement and worry about what is to come. Below are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for going back to school this Summer or Fall.
Being proactive about your mental health.
When campuses closed down, students have experienced a wide array of mental health issues. Nearly all college students experienced some degree of depression, anxiety, grief, and loss. While intervening when you feel your mental health is declining is a good idea, it is just as important to work on prevention. Clients often don’t realize their mental health has declined until they get to a very dark place and their day-to-day functioning has already been significantly impacted at that point. Remember to do a wellness check-in regularly, and recognize some early warning signs such as isolation or disengagement. Use the resources that your campus offers.
If you have a roommate, talk about your house rules.
If you are living on-campus, there are bound to be rules that you have to follow set by your university. If you are off-campus, however, there is certainly a need to talk to your new or former roommates about some house rules. While house rules about taking out the trash, payment, cleaning, etc. are standard, there might be a need for a discussion about Covid-19. Figure out who is allowed to visit, what to do with common spaces when there are visitors, what to do if a roommate needs to quarantine or becomes sick, and what is acceptable in terms of socializing outside of the home.
Dealing with your anxious parents.
Many parents of college students will be anxious this upcoming semester. They might feel the need to take over your decision-making or take control if there is a spike in cases on campus. Understand that it comes from a place of love and protection. Show them that you are capable of making adult decisions and assert healthy boundaries.
Give yourself compassion.
Last but not least, be kind to yourself. You’ve had a really intense year full of ups and downs, and many changes. It’s okay if you can’t jump right back into it. Don’t expect things to look the same or for yourself to perform as you did before the pandemic. Your classes are important; however, your emotional health is what will last a lifetime. Take a lighter load if you can, and do things at your own pace.
As always, thank you for tuning in! If you would like to speak about yourself, your child, or teen, reach out at 858-522-9415 for a free consultation today!