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Column: Students should take time to reflect, focus on mental health

April 3, 2019
<p>From left applied engineering sciences senior Luke Voelker, finance junior Alex Allen and applied engineering sciences senior Ryan Bertrand work in groups at the beginning of COM 360 on Oct. 6, 2014, at the Communications Arts and Sciences Building. Voelker asked to be in the class because of his interest in technical sales. Aerika Williams/The State News</p>

From left applied engineering sciences senior Luke Voelker, finance junior Alex Allen and applied engineering sciences senior Ryan Bertrand work in groups at the beginning of COM 360 on Oct. 6, 2014, at the Communications Arts and Sciences Building. Voelker asked to be in the class because of his interest in technical sales. Aerika Williams/The State News

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes feeling of dread and intense worry settle in. There are several things you should try to keep in mind to combat your panic.

1) Stress will inevitably become more prominent in not only your life, but in the lives of your colleagues. As dates for final exams are set in stone and professors hand out study guides, a general feeling of anxiety will arise on campus. At this time, due dates for final projects and papers quickly pile up, sometimes falling within days of each other. Whether it’s graduating seniors, students on the brink of not passing their classes, or those trying to improve their grade point at the last moment, anxiety will prevail and apply to everyone on campus. While it's easy to become distracted, try your hardest not to. The best things you can do are taking time to study and prepare and keeping your mind on the important things. Don’t let yourself fall into an unmotivated cycle. Make sure to get rest, stay hydrated and eat at least two meals a day.

2) Your mental health is a priority. Often in highly stressful situations, our minds can play tricks against us and make us question our self worth, especially if we aren’t doing as wonderful academically as we would have hoped for. It is important to remember that while you may not do as well as you initially wished for this semester, you are still successful and studying at a renown university. Failures and mistakes have potential to lead to a spiral of self-deprecation and disappointment. Take a step out of the world of academia for a moment and do something to refresh yourself. Watch a movie, listen to some music, give someone in your family a call. Do something entirely unrelated to academics at least once a day.

3) Check on your friends. Make sure your friends are OK. Look out for your friends and recognize signs of struggle. Sometimes we fall in a cycle of focusing solely on our own problems, but we should make an effort to reach out to our friends to check on them. A simple text is sometimes enough to lift a person’s entire mood. Not only does reaching out show support, but sometimes going through a similar situation or problem as a friend, or anyone close to you can help boost your self confidence and comprehension of what might not be going right in your own life.  

4) Give yourself something fun to look forward to. Following the harsh end of spring semester is a long break. Plan something fun to do. Participate in a study abroad program, plan a vacation, apply to a fun job. Do something that will ultimately make you happy and amp you up for the next semester. Or, in the case that you’re graduating, do something that’ll give you a break in between the worlds of academia and career finding. Having a fun activity or event to look forward to can get your mind off the intensity of your workload.

Following the tips above can help make your end of semester less stressful. While the overwhelming reality of final projects and exams will still be present, variant outlets may assist you in succeeding and not sweating the small stuff as much.

If you feel you or a friend are struggling, don’t forget about resources available to students on Michigan State’s campus. Not only is there free counseling at Olin Health Center, but support groups, study groups and tutors are available in all neighborhoods. If these resources don’t provide much relief to you, then don’t hesitate to call a hotline that can assist you with the problem you’re experiencing, whether it be linked directly to mental health or not.

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