The years of being a young adult can be very stressful. It is normal to feel pressure and confusion as you transition from someone under the direction of your parents into a more independent life. Moving away from home, meeting an entirely new peer group, and immersing yourself in a new culture are all stressful. There are some things you can do to ease the transition and hopefully reduce the mental toll of your college years.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

Transitions are hard. There is no reason to be ashamed to seek help if you feel like you need it. You also should not compare yourself to others. It is easy to feel like you have no right to feel stress, anger, or frustration because your situation is so much better than others. Everyone is different and process stressors differently. If you are feeling depressed, overwhelmed, or anxious, seek help. Your college should have a resource you can use to seek mental health help. Whether through their health clinic or by providing community connections, they should be able to direct you on the path to mental wellness.

Minimize Financial Strain

College is expensive. Between tuition, room, board, and the miscellaneous expenses associated with attending school, money can be a source of strain during your college years. One way to minimize this strain is by taking out student loans sufficient to cover your costs during school. Many people try to minimize the amount they borrow during their college years. While you don’t want to borrow excessively, there are benefits to borrowing enough to cover your living expenses. Not having to work while you are in school frees you up to take internships, which in many fields are unpaid, and to fully immerse yourself in college life. Interest rates on student loans are low, and repayment terms favorable.

Take Care of Yourself

Even the most independent high school student is often in for a rude awakening when they arrive at college. Living your day to day life of ensuring you have clean laundry, are in the right place at the right time for meals and classes, and planning your schedule weeks in advance to accommodate projects and finals is a big transition from high school. By the time you reached your senior year of high school, you were pretty much on autopilot. You knew what you needed to do, how to do it, and how long it would take. Once you start college, you are back at square one.

Don’t expect to enter college without hitting some rough spots. Make time to build friendships with your dorm mates and those you have classes with. Pay attention to the places you like to eat and their location in relation to your dorm and where your classes are located. Stay on top of your laundry. Keep your room picked up. No one will tell you to do these things, but having a clean, calm place to rest and study and clean clothes to wear is vital for your mental health, as is a diet that is not made entirely of junk.

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Lauren Sanchez - Author

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