College is coming to a close. Students are running around in a blind panic and tutors are close to banging their head on a wall. Yes the end of the academic year will soon be upon us, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’ve been at college for 3 years now and I am ready for it to end!
My first two years of forensic science were not too bad, but this final year of business has really seen me off. But despite these 3 years having a tone of difficulty’s and hardships, they’ve taught me an awful lot (I’m not just talking academically either). These 3 years have taught me so much about how to look after my mental health and that’s what I’d like to share with you today.
5 things that college has taught me about my mental health.
Make yourself a priority
I was a Brownie and a Guide as a kid (I’m even a leader now!) and one of the motto’s I was brought up with was to put others before yourself and do a good deed everyday. I’m now stating to think that maybe I took the put others before yourself bit a tad to literally.
I put others first, it’s as simple as that. Other people’s health and well-being were always my priority. But my own never was.
This was especially evident in my first two years of college where I’d burn myself out trying to help others. But now, with the help of my counselor, I’ve started to understand that I need to be a priority. My mental health should be a priority at all times.
It’s ok to ask for help
Asking for help.
Seeking help for your mental health is a hard thing but it’s worth it. My first two years I didn’t ask for help at college. Call it pride, but I just didn’t want my tutors to know I was struggling and I was scared they would’ believe me. I was always smiling so why would they believe me? However, in my third year things kinda went belly up and I needed to break my silence and I’m so glad that I did. I’m allowed to do all my assignment workshops in the library instead of the class room (where my anxiety gets to the point where I can’t function let alone write an assignment). My tutors are extra lenient with me regarding having food out in the class room as they are aware that I’m recovering from an ED. They’re also aware that sometime I might have a very bad panic attack and need to leave college for the day because of it.
All of those things might not sound like a lot, by they make the world of difference to me. I’m no going to be afraid to as for help when I get to University.
Take time out
I’m a goodie two shoes, I can not skive lessons. I’m worried that I’ll miss something important, I’ll fall behind or someone will catch me.
However, this year I’ve learnt that there’s a difference between skiving and taking time out. This has been especially key in my recovery from the eating disorder. Some days I am too weak to be at college for a day. Some days I need to be at home where I feel safe enough to eat. Other days when I’m stressed (and I mean really stressed) I also take a day out. It doesn’t even have to be for a whole day. Sometimes I promise myself that when I get home I will not think of college or do any assignment work. Sometimes you just need to rest.
Perfection will destroy you
Oh perfection, how many times have I spoken about this?
One of the main reasons I speak abort it so much here is because I’ve been learning how toxic chasing perfection is for me. Constantly aiming for 100% will destroy you and it will seriously damage your mental health. It’s not ok to be putting myself under that much pressure to be perfect all the time, because I’m not. So there’s no point chasing this unreachable perfection and then punishing myself afterwards when I don’t achieve it.
It’s ok to be alone
I used to hate being alone as a kid. I wanted to be with a group (safety in numbers) but as I’ve gotten more mature I’ve begun to realise how important alone time is.
Sure it’s fun doing your assignment with all your classmates but are you really going to get all that much work done, or are you gong to end up watching cats get brain freeze on YouTube? I also find company very exhausting and draining. It’s been hard to break away from my class and just sit alone to get my work done, but I’ve really needed to. Instead of feeling drained, I come away feeling the sense of achievement and that I’ve been productive.
So that’s all I’ve got for you guys today folks.
What have you found school/college/ university has taught you about your mental health?