C ollege and graduate school make for an exciting time in any student’s life. Young or old, an individual taking the steps to further their education and make it through school is actively working towards bettering themselves and their life.
While countless people in a student’s life may be quick to congratulate them or push them to meet their goals, many fail to recognize that the rigors of continuing education can take their toll. Thousands of college students every year find themselves facing social, academic, and psychological issues– and in many cases, they’re afraid to ask for help.
It can be difficult to seek out mental health services if you doubt the validity of your struggles; but there’s no issue too big or too small to warrant meeting with a counselor or other mental health professional. College students are like heroes– and sometimes, heroes struggle to overcome challenges. Who could blame them? A qualified mental health professional can act as your guide and work with you as a team to bring about real, lasting change that enhances your life and opens the door to success.
Common Struggles During College
College comes along with a lot of social pressures. Regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you’re expected to attend classes and lectures full to the brim with other students, get to know your professors, and somehow manage to network, too.
While getting insight from teachers and making connections to further benefit your education and career are great, socialization on this level doesn’t come easily to everyone. Scores of college students find themselves feeling lost or inadequate when it comes to socializing with superiors and moving out of their comfort zone.
And that doesn’t even touch on the social struggles you might face with your peers. The days of high school bullying may be long behind you, but plenty of young men and women find themselves anxious about meeting people and making friends in college. It can be difficult to get to know your classmates when you aren’t stuck with them all day; and feeling isolated when you may already be separated from family is difficult.
Fortunately, seeking out professional help for problems like these is becoming more and more normalized. Of course you want to talk to somebody impartial and empathetic about your issues– doubly so if the bulk of your issues center around feeling like you can’t speak to anybody the rest of the time. A counselor or therapist can help give you the tools you need to make great connections– professional and personal.
Academic struggles can range from failing to manage assignment scheduling to outright failing classes– and you may be surprised to find that both of these are normal. While it’s understandable to worry about academic performance, it’s also critical to understand that even top students often find themselves in need of a hand up once they make the move to college.
Hundreds of thousands of university students every year find themselves feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. It can be difficult to keep track of everything that’s expected of you while managing to foster a healthy social life, engage in self-care, and get ample rest. Many students find themselves pressed for time, energy, and focus– but very few of them understand that it’s a problem that warrants legitimate attention.
While it may feel odd to head to a counselor for help with such a “simple problem,” the fact of the matter is that that’s what mental health professionals are there for! You don’t need to be crippled by mental illness just to speak your thoughts to a professional; there are endless amounts of therapists and counselors who work solely with individuals struggling with smaller, day-to-day matters.
College can act as a catalyst for a number of psychological troubles. Some students may find that they develop or begin to express symptoms of a mental illness they haven’t experienced before; for others with preexisting conditions or diagnoses, it’s not uncommon for symptoms to worsen or return for a period during significant life changes– and college certainly qualifies as a significant life change.
In some cases, students may find that they begin to exhibit symptoms of anxiety or depression throughout their college career. While unfortunate, this is not entirely unexpected. 41.6% of college students stated that anxiety is their top presenting concern. Many college students may be anxious about finding a balance between work, school, and a social life; others might feel the pressure surrounding grades creep up at an alarming pace.
Some students may be surprised to notice that symptoms of mental illness begin creeping up on them during college. However, according to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 75% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin developing by age 24. That leaves ample time for a student on the traditional educational track to begin developing a mental illness during college.
Even older students might experience relapse with preexisting mental health issues. If there’s one thing we’ve determined, it’s that school is stressful without the proper tools– and many mental illnesses are exacerbated considerably by stress and a sense of loss of control.
At OptiMind, we believe that everybody deserves a sense of confidence, productivity, hope, and joy. It may be difficult to recognize, but if you’re struggling to feel like yourself as you work through school, you aren’t alone. Our professionals are dedicated mental health specialists who are dedicated to helping you reshape your life and create a pathway for the future that you can be proud of.
What Can I Do If I Need Help?
If you believe you may be struggling with your mental health during your college or graduate school years– for whatever reason– complete our appointment request form or contact us today. You’ll be paired with a counselor who can help you take the strides necessary to overcome whatever is holding you back from the best version of yourself. Whether you’re struggling to integrate into your school’s culture or find yourself grappling with mental illness, an OptiMind counselor can help.
Locations Offering This Service
Staff Offering This Service
Joseph Yeretsian, MD FAPA
OptiMindHealth President, Staff Psychiatrist
Catherine Auth, LICSW
Staff Social Worker
Dolly Muzer, LPC
Heather Steffen, PsyD
Long Hin "Jacky" Siu, LMHC
Kristin Gatto, LPC
Michael Denton-Smith, LMHC
Recent Posts on College Counseling
ADHD in College Women: 5 Things You Should Know Stop me if you've heard this one: a hard-working, successful young woman heads off to college...and everything falls apart. Not that funny, right? Unfortunately, for many women with ADHD, this is their story. Whether...
With a new semester beginning, campus-adjacent pharmacies might do well to stock up on ADHD medications. The startling truth is that the prevalence of ADHD medications on college campuses is astounding and may reflect dangerous misuses of the drugs. "Study Drug" Abuse...