Grades are important, but focus on you, too

By Sean Reis
Arts & Entertainment Editor

College can be a stressful place. You need to balance courses, extracurriculars, a social life and more, but keeping a level head through it all isn’t always easy. Even those who have the best time management skills have moments of anxiety or distress. It’s only natural, and you don’t need to be professionally diagnosed to take care of your mental health. As important as it may seem to maintain a high GPA, there should be one thing that always comes first — you.

I’m not suggesting you completely disregard the reason you’re at college because despite the overall experience, you’re here to get a degree. However, before you can get that degree, both your body and mind need to make it through these four years. It may be easy at times, but work will often be difficult, you will feel stressed and you need to take the proper precautions.

If you don’t have a healthy diet or you don’t sleep on a regular schedule, your stress levels will be significantly worse when work gets too tough to handle. It seems obvious, but living a physically healthy lifestyle will help you live mentally well, too. So when the anxiety arrives or the stress shows up unannounced, you can be prepared to deal with it and act accordingly.

Of course, the way each person deals with mental health issues varies. Whomever you may be, having a hobby that you can do by yourself may help. Little activities like coloring, drawing and writing can be relaxing tools to distract your mind after a long day of hard work.

When I have moments of anxiety, I always listen to music. It’s an escape. I lay down, focus my mind entirely on the music and I forget about everything else for awhile. It’s not for everyone, but that’s how I ease my mind.

If these don’t quite appeal to you, obviously, there are so many other healthy coping strategies.

Even if alternative techniques work for you, some people might need extra help. You shouldn’t feel afraid to reach out for professional help. The College has Counseling and Psychological Services on campus to schedule an appointment if you need to seek out expert guidance, and there are always off-campus professionals.

I highly suggest you find what’s right for you because you should make the most of your four years in college. Don’t let issues with your mental health stop you from living life to the fullest.