Starting college can be an exciting new journey. Partying, meeting new friends, and exploring your new campus are than things that many college freshmen get into within their first semester of school. While it can be fun for some, for others it can trigger a serious condition called Freshman Depression. For most freshman like me, moving to a new environment can be difficult. We are so used to being around our family and loved ones. With new classes, different campus activities, and learning how to balance your schedule by yourself for the first time, will seriously take an emotional toll on most first-year students.
Last year researchers at teen magazine Seventeen found that 150,000 freshman they surveyed rated their emotional health as lower than any class since 1985. Freshman also said that they felt overwhelmed and felt depressed in the past year more frequently then classes of years past that they were spending less time socializing with friends and more time focused on academics. Here are some symptoms of the Freshman Blues:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures, or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms just know that you are not alone. This is a tough transition for first year students. Many people including myself are currently dealing with this. Here are a few tips to help you get through your first-year journey :
Have a support system– Having your family, close friends from home, or even your roommates to be there for you and talk to you through this emotional time is very helpful. THINK POSITIVE.
Have an open mind– I know that leaving your room may cause you A LOT of anxiety, but you have to try to at least get out of your dorm and go to different activities on campus. Sporting events, game nights, and even guest speakers might indeed help you feel a little more relaxed and comfortable
Have a health escape– While going through this, mental breakdowns are normal. However, it isn’t healthy to constantly have them. Having an escape will help your brain eliminate any negative thoughts that are preventing you to be productive. Writing about your feelings will take a huge weight of your shoulder. Listening to your favorite artist may help you relive stress. Reading your favorite book will take your mind into another place. Meditating will help you feel at peace.
Ask for help– Counselors, Mentors, and Trusted adults are there at your university to help you. They know that the first-year experience can be tough on most freshman. They are there to help you with anything that you need to make your transition smooth. Contact your local Counselor on campus to schedule an appointment to discuss your emotions.
Remember, you are not alone. Just Breathe. Everything will be alright.
- Ruiz, Michelle. “Michelle Ruiz.” Seventeen, Seventeen, www.seventeen.com/life/school/news/amp36753/what-no-one-tells-you-about-the-first/.