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Mental health in college: how to keep my sanity?

kayrofaykayrofay Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
I'm a senior in high school and I applied to mostly high-achieving, tough schools (Cornell, Tufts, Barnard, etc) and I will probably major in some sort of biology field. I've been thinking: when I get stressed out, I become very panicky and depressed. I feel like no matter where I go, I'll be stuck with an insane burden of work. Can you give me some advice on how to maintain my sanity and composure during college? And what colleges are the best in mental health counseling?

Replies to: Mental health in college: how to keep my sanity?

  • porcupine98porcupine98 Registered User Posts: 1,612 Senior Member
    You're smart to think about this now, but a question: Do you really want your life to have this much stress? Instead of thinking about how to manage the stress, have you thought about reducing it?
  • siliconvalleymomsiliconvalleymom Registered User Posts: 4,461 Senior Member
    You may find college less stressful than high school. You'll have more choice about your classes, less seat time in class and more choice about how you get your work done.
    You still have a semester to go in high school-take care of yourself now and get enough sleep.
  • porcupine98porcupine98 Registered User Posts: 1,612 Senior Member
    Yes. Sleep.
  • dyiu13dyiu13 Registered User Posts: 2,866 Senior Member
    A regular bedtime. Seriously.
  • porcupine98porcupine98 Registered User Posts: 1,612 Senior Member
    And the sooner you recognize that the better.

    Working hard? Absolutely?

    Driving yourself so hard you lose your sanity and composure? Not worth it.

    There's a happy medium.
  • thatrunnerkidthatrunnerkid Registered User Posts: 534 Member
    In addition to sleep, seeing a mental health professional now and in the future, and restructuring the way you spend your time to reduce stress (less procrastination and ineffective study and work habits), I highly recommend introducing hard exercise into your daily schedule. It calms you down and at least for me allows me to more than make up the hour of time lost, since it allows me to think clearly and be more productive. Additionally, while most of my friends are freaking out about midterms and finals, I'm usually fairly calm, especially after I exercise.
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 4,640 Senior Member
    Attend a nurturing cooperative school not a highly competitive one even if you can get yourself admitted to a highly competitive school.

    Choose a small school where instructors will get to know you and where there is a focus on the undergraduate experience.

    Choose a school known to be supportive rather than cut-throat. Don't go to the type of school you have described. it is a huge mistake and you know it.

    If you are close to your family, stay close geographically so you can access support when you need it and so you can seek refuge at home if needed.

    Do not go to a " high-achieving, tough school"! Didn't anyone suggest a supportive environment? Why not? Go to the school that is most supportive of those you get into. Set up supports before you attend. Colleges are not large mental health centers. I think the tendency for students with issues to seek out the most elite schools they can get into and then complain that it is not sensitive to their needs is absurd. They won't be! Go to one that is.
  • N's MomN's Mom Registered User Posts: 2,212 Senior Member
    Agree with lost account: It makes no sense to attend a 'high achieving tough school' when there are high achieving cooperative and supportive schools available.

    But assuming it's too late to apply to those schools, I would strongly urge you to take a very light load your first semester - If a full load i 5 courses, take 4 + something fun like yoga. If a full load is 4 courses, take 3 + something with no homework or stress. I assume you have AP credits. Use those credits like money in the bank to make sure you don't overload yourself first semester when you are learning the ropes, trying to make friends, adjusting to a new living situation, possibly sorting out room-mate and other issues...Bio is full of pre-meds and the intro classes are often 'weeders' at the tough schools - a way of discouraging 80% of pre-meds from continuing on that track, so stressful is what those classes are intended to be. Assuming you don't want to avoid your major during your freshman year, the advice to take a lighter load is doubly true. I also second the rest of the advice about sleep, eating well, getting exercise - all of which is easier to do if you have a lighter course load.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,950 Forum Champion
    I agree with many of these thoughts...

    Don't overload first semester. Like don't take advanced math and two lab courses. At least go with the suggested curriculum.

    Really consider if a top top school is the best place for *you*. When my daughter picked a school, she didn't want to be the smartest kid there but also didn't want to be the dumbest. She wanted to have a school that would be challenged but not overwhelmed. She wanted other academically focused students.

    Also maybe talk to your doctor before you go to college about anxiety/depression...are you within the range of "normal" stress or is it affecting your life to a degree where medication might be helpful?

    When you get to college, go to the Counseling Center and see what they offer. They may have classes on reducing stress or the like that might be helpful.
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