By Alyse Kaminski | Staff Columnist
Back in the days of five minutes between classes in the same building and scheduled lunch periods, new school years or semesters never seemed like a big deal. The routine would be pretty much the same as it had always been and at the end of the day, my dogs and my bed were waiting for me at home. It goes without saying that it’s different in college when life becomes a little more complicated. Late this summer, I started to remember that going back to college for a new semester is more stressful than going back to high school. I started worrying.
Now, if you know me at all, you know that it’s pretty normal for me to be stressed, but I knew I wasn’t alone in this feeling. We are only a week into classes and I see other students already studying hard and putting in work. So, let’s face it—we are all stressed and our mental health should come first, so here are some tips I have for coping with new semester stress.
First, keeping a weekly planner is so crucial. Laying out what my days of the week will look like is therapeutic for me. It’s important to practice organization going into the semester. Maybe you won’t keep up with your planner throughout the whole semester, but if you’re stressed at all right now, I highly recommend writing down your plans for the week to help you get back into your groove.
Next, the gym is such a great stress reliever for me. Pencil in some time in your brand new planner to walk over to the Power Center and get your anger at your professor for assigning so much reading on day five out on the treadmill. By the time you’re done, you might feel much better and if not, that’s okay. At least you just burned some calories and gave off an “I care about health” vibe.
One great thing about Duquesne is the range of clubs and activities that are offered. The beginning of the semester is a great time to look into what is here that might be for you. Whether it’s helping others or getting together to talk politics, there is definitely something here that will help you get involved and take your mind off the stress of schoolwork.
All summer, you’ve probably been missing your college friends. If you’re a freshman, you’ve probably been eager and excited to get to school and make new friends. The best thing about your college pals is that they get what you’re going through. Lean on them. They probably want to lean on you too. One stress reliever is to get together with your buddies and have Netflix nights filled with good food and even better company. Take some time away from your new best friend, Gumberg Library, and spend some time with your real friends.
And finally, Duquesne has counseling services, and it is more than okay to use them. That’s what they are there for. There is never a reason to feel ashamed for asking for help. If you feel like your problems aren’t something trips to the gym and some ice cream cannot solve, visit 636 Fisher Hall where the counseling services are located. They offer a ton of services that may be beneficial to you and help you through the stressful times that college can bring. The best part about them is that they are free, so there is no need to worry about breaking the bank to get the help you deserve.
Remember that your mental health comes first. Yes, we are all here for our degrees, but we cannot forget that sometimes we just need to breathe. We need to do what’s right for our minds. We take care of our bodies when we do not feel physically well, so it’s more than okay to take care of our brains too.
Maybe it was easier when I had my dogs to go home to after a rough day in high school, but that’s okay. School stress is only temporary and it will pass, much like passing your classes! When it comes down to it, life is full of stressors, but it’s how you handle them that counts. As my life coach, Hannah Montana, says, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.”