I can’t, I have therapy
College is hard. That’s just a fact. It’s a mixed up, crazy, beautiful, terrifying, wonderful time, full of ups and downs. And sometimes these ups and downs can be hard to deal with on your own. After all, you have a lot of stuff to keep track of!
If you have access to a counselor, either through your school or otherwise, I highly recommend meeting with them early on in your college career. I saw a counselor all four years of college, and it was the best decision I made. Here’s why:
1. Routine, routine, routine
One of the first things I did my freshman year was head over to the counseling center and make an appointment. At the time, I was going through a lot emotionally and mentally, between being afraid of the transition, hating the major I was in, and dealing with some other personal stuff, and I knew that I needed an outlet. Since my college had free counseling services, I had nothing to lose. By going to the counseling center early on in my college career, and scheduling weekly (or even bi-weekly) appointments, I made it a part of my routine. This way, I never had to think about it; I would just go, and the appointments were there when I needed them.
2. In good times and bad
What I found in college, and still find today, is that having regular appointments with a therapist is healthy for me because I have this time set aside to talk whether I’m going through a particularly rough time, or a seemingly easy time. Even when things are good, I can always find things to talk to my therapist about. The brain is a very complex place, after all! Besides, if you get comfortable talking to someone when you’re having a “good” week, then you’ll feel comfortable talking to them about the hard stuff. It’s all about creating and maintaining a relationship of trust and comfort, and the only way to do that is to keep a conversation going.
3. Mental real estate
Seeing a therapist can help you with things that you may not expect it to. You’d be amazed at how much “mental real estate” frees up when your most prominent stressors are ironed out. Seeing my therapist, and being able to organize my thoughts, was part of what helped me realize what major I was really meant to be in. It helped me decide what kind of internships to apply to. Getting a clear head helps you to see your other issues more clearly, and sometimes it takes another person to help you untangle your thoughts. Once that’s done, it’s amazing how much you can learn about yourself and truly see yourself.
4. Habit forming
Because I saw a therapist all throughout college, I became accustomed to it, and I felt determined to find one when I moved out of college and into a new city. As long as I’m financially able, I plan on keeping this habit alive and seeing a therapist regularly. Again, I believe it’s important to keep seeing someone when things are good, so you’re prepared when things are bad. Besides, even when things may seem easy, there’s always something weighing down your mind, whether you realize it or not. The best habit you can form is a habit of taking the time to listen to you mind and body.
So, in summary, if you have access to counseling services (check out your school’s student services!), I highly recommend that you take advantage of it. Give yourself the care you deserve, and keep your brain as sharp and decluttered as you can, because you have a lot of other things in college that need your mental energy!
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