How should I deal with coming to a new environment away from all of my friends and family? How should I cope when I am feeling depressed and don’t feel like I have anyone to turn to?
-Coping in College
Dear Coping in College,
Starting over can be terribly overwhelming, especially when you’re venturing into uncharted territory alone. You may start to wonder: is this the best place for me, will I make any friends, will I be happy here? And the scariest part of all is that you can’t really answer any of these questions until you dive in feet first. You may feel like you’ll drown, but trust me when I say you won’t. I’m not saying transitions are smooth or easy, but I am saying they are worth it because you never know what transformative life changes a new chapter could bring.
One suggestion that might help you better handle your new environment is to put yourself out there. Find a club you’d like to join or a cause you’re interested in leading. Perhaps you’re a feminist looking to make some changes, a budding journalist hoping to be the next Anderson Cooper, or a young thespian waiting for your next big break: make a list of extracurriculars, and go for as many as you can handle without feeling terribly overwhelmed, that way you’ll spend much of your time and energy cultivating your passions with like-minded individuals (who will soon become your newest friends). You also want to make sure you’re carving out enough time to create some stellar homework assignments (because this is college, right?) as well as that “me time” you so desperately need and deserve.
There will be good days and bad days. Days where you’ll feel like you’re successfully “adulting,” and days when you’ll feel like hiding under your covers for fear of everyone knowing you’re just a fraud. So, the second and most important suggestion is to lean in and use the stress of a new place to fuel you, not paralyze you. However you feel, whatever you feel, don’t hide those feelings. Let yourself feel it all. When you’re depressed and think there’s no one you can to turn to, be honest with yourself. Acknowledge your struggles and actively seek support. Try some relaxation methods like journaling or coloring (adult coloring books are awesome tools for de-stressing, by the way). Check in with a campus counseling center, and most importantly, be kind to yourself.
I hope these tips will help you better cope with the transition to college. Best of luck, and keep us posted!