by Gary Tobin, VP Mayo Campus GMIT 2018/2019
In today’s world people’s daily lives are clustered with a wide variety of internal and external aspects which they must navigate in order to make it through the day. Aspects such as finances, family commitments, work and a generally hectic schedule are just a few worth noting here.
This is especially true for college students who must deal with these aspects of their personal lives, while also trying to manage their college life. Assignment deadlines, rising rent costs and a tight budget are just some of the additional obstacles which students must contend with on a daily basis.
When taking all of this into consideration, it is easy to see how students in a college environment may be more inclined to experiencing negative aspects of wellbeing such as stress, worry, and general uncertainty as they struggle to find their way in this unpredictable world.
It is important to note here however that stress is not necessarily a bad thing once channelled correctly and that worry is just a sure sign that you really care about doing well in college (and will). And while we cannot predict the future, I personally find it more fun to simply trust the journey and see where life takes you. You will more than likely be pleasantly surprised.
In my personal experience as a student, I have found that self-maintenance, staying on top of things and knowing when to take rest (or party) are imperative in managing your wellbeing in both college and life in general. Simply said however does not always mean simply done and achieving these will require a degree of discipline and mindfulness in oneself.
For this I have a few tips:
Self-maintenance: What a lot of people know at this point but have yet to realise is that simple tasks such as getting to bed early, maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and regular exercise will go an enormous way towards general feelings of positive wellbeing and organising ones thoughts. While every day cannot be a good day, you will certainly maximise the amount of good days you will have by developing these good habits. Students experiencing stress will often enter tunnel vision and avoid these good habits in an attempt to get work done quicker. This often becomes more unproductive however. Remember, discipline is the ability to predict consequences. Try to keep this in mind the next time you think about skipping breakfast☺.
Stay on top of things: The message here is quite simple. Attend your classes, do your assignments in good time and don’t wait till the night before to study for exams. What makes this hard I find, is trying to balance a structured life with a social life. It is just as easy to party too much and miss out on class as it is to work too much and but miss out on a social life. Too much of one without the other can have a negative impact on wellbeing. It is as important to work as it is to live within reason. Often peer pressure from negative influences can be a factor here. My advice would be to strive towards being an individual but to also surround yourself with likeminded people who wish to also do well. Developing healthy habits as mentioned will also help you with your will power here.
Look out for others: it is important to note that whatever you are struggling with in college, your classmates are likely struggling in a similar way in terms of wellbeing. It is most important that you safeguard your own wellbeing first. Having achieved this, it is good to always be mindful of the wellbeing of the people around you and to refer them to the appropriate faculties if needed. A class that struggles together, prospers together.
Lastly, I would just like to say that it is perfectly natural to feel a little daunted coming from the comfortable life you once knew, which made sense, only cross the threshold into the crazy world of the college student. But that’s beauty of it. That you navigate your new environment and test yourself against the trials and tribulations of your surroundings. That you push your boundaries only to find them get bigger. College can be scary and stressful but also very rewarding and enriching once you take that first step and trust the journey ahead. In doing so make sure to safeguard your mental wellbeing and it will surely safeguard you.