By Rachel Silton
Rachel Silton of Brandeis University
Going into my senior year of college is a surreal experience. I feel like I biked up to the top of a steep, rocky mountain and am almost at the point where I can coast down the other side, feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. However, getting to the top hasn’t certainly been easy, and I had to take many rest breaks along the way. Now that I can see the beginning of my journey in a different way than before, I want to provide some advice that I wish I had been given at the bottom of the mountain.
Remember where you started
Whether you drove to college or took a plane, you came from somewhere. There, there are still people that love you and will always be there for you. They only want you to succeed and be happy, and they are more than willing to listen to you and encourage you whenever you are having trouble. Getting homesick is part of the protocol, and that can easily escalate into something more serious if you don’t have a solid support system that you can rely on.
Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene
I know you’re thinking, “well obviously I know how to take care of myself, I am not a kid anymore”. For me, when I start to get depressed or anxious, I just kind of forget to shower/wash my hair. And then when I feel gross emotionally and then physically, it just reinforces my depression or anxiety. It is so crucial to remember to take care of yourself physically because it really has an effect on your mood and mental health. I know it seems like a silly thing to remember, but it helps tremendously.
Prioritize your happiness
There are so many pre-conceived notions of college and how you will go out every day of the weekend, and sometimes that’s true! However, that doesn’t mean you have to go out 3 nights in a row if you don’t want to. Always choose the option that’s going to make YOU happy, and no one else. When you’re happy, you’re able to be the best version of yourself, and that’s the most important thing.
Use your voice
It may be easier to stay quiet because you don’t know anyone and you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. But if there is something bothering you with a roommate, classmate, or even a professor, there will be someone that wants to listen to what you have to say. Even if you just have a question, your RAs and people higher up value your opinion and your well-being.
Don’t forget to breathe
In the first month or two of college, there is so much going on and you will want to experience all of it. Because of this, it is vital that you are able to periodically take a “breather.” Watch an episode of your favorite show, take a nap, or explore your college town. Checking in with yourself and slowing down is an important part of staying well-balanced. You don’t have to do all the clubs and take all the classes all at once. Don’t worry, you have 4 wonderful, tumultuous years ahead of you and you will have every experience you could have ever asked for out of college.
Enjoy the ride!