As students in college, everyone is expected to work toward a degree, support themselves financially and figure out who they are as a person, supposedly while having the time of their lives. College can be some of the most stressful years in a person’s life, yet there’s still a social stigma regarding talking about mental health. We, as students, believe that we should recognize and be active listeners to our peers with mental health issues.
Many people may think that because we are in college, we have less responsibilities in our lives and only have to worry about having fun and graduating. However, students don’t get to talk about the stressful aspects of college life because it’s not considered as cool or it’s nothing compared to the “real world.”
College, for most students, is the first time living away from family. This can be a big cause of anxiety in itself, not to mention all of the responsibilities this can entail. Some of these responsibilities consist of meeting and living with strangers, covering tuition and living costs, getting schoolwork done and making your own decisions.
For some reason, sharing your true self with the world is almost unheard of, because of the stigma around sharing mental health stories. In a world currently dominated by social media, today’s college students have grown up in a place where it’s normal to document your life to the public. Although, often the only moments that are documented are the happy ones.
Social media has also become a huge source of stress for young adults in college. It places this pressure on us, making us feel like we’re expected to go out and post about our lives, otherwise we’re weird. It can be nice to stay in touch with friends via social media, but no one should ever feel validated by the number of likes or views their post got.
The only people who can understand what you’re going through are those in the same situation as you. It’s so sad to see how many students feel alone, when in reality, they are surrounded by people who are experiencing similar anxieties.
Normalizing sharing more than just the parties in college is a must and will only better the lives of college students. The moment we all stop and look around us, we will realize that we’re not all that different from each other.
Supporting your peers will not only help them with their troubles, but may also inspire you to ask for help yourself. No two people will have the exact same college experience, but we all need to stick together through some of the most trying times in life.