Thursday, February 9, 2023

MSU students reflect on their mental health upon returning to school

What impacts Spartans the most at the beginning of a new school year?

September 13, 2022
Photo Illustration by Chloe Trofatter - Sept. 6, 2022
Photo Illustration by Chloe Trofatter - Sept. 6, 2022 —
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

As another summer dwindles to a close, the Spartans of Michigan State University find their way back to campus. After the initial excitement of move-in weekend, Sparticipation and the start of a new football season, students begin to prepare for the highs and lows of a new school year. 

The beginning of fall semester means a fresh start for some students, while others struggle with the pressure to succeed.

“I have always been an overachiever when it comes to school and life in general," said psychology junior Katelyn DiGasbarro. "When it comes to classes and grades, I put a lot of stress on myself."

Not only is there the time commitment of classes, but most instructors will require additional work to be done outside of class. This causes growing pressure on students.

“The stress of homework affects me the most," said DiGasbarro.

For students entering the final stages of their degree, this fall means a feeling of anxiety for their future.

"The stark realization that I am expected to be a fully functioning, working member of society, in only two years, has placed a large sense of dread over my head," said computer science junior Alex Fortsch.

But the start of a new school year can also bring an influx of positive emotions as well.

“My mental health has changed in a positive way while transitioning from high school to college," said marketing freshman Grace Low.

Low also said school brings both the opportunity to learn as well as connect socially – helping students reach outside their comfort zone.

“The social aspect has definitely opened me up and made me more outgoing," said Low. 

Ultimately, MSU students agree that a balance can be found to manage stress. Acts of self-care can help you achieve that balance.

“If I need to take a mental break from homework, I take a shower or try to relax by reading a book," said DiGasbarro.

Spending time with friends can also enrich your quality of life.

“I have made some amazing friends so far this year that also have positively increased my mental health," said Low.

“Having that consistent, productive routine, as well as access to a lot of people who are feeling similar things to the way I am, have been really beneficial, and allowed some of those negatives to be alleviated," said Fortsch.

Despite all of the stresses that come with heading back to East Lansing, DiGasbarro still thinks the MSU experience is a net positive. You just have to take care of yourself.

“Michigan State is a great school," said DiGasbarro. “Just know that in the end you have to take care of yourself first … you only have one life. One chance to be you and make sure you focus on yourself and your goals."


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