Coping with Depression at College

Let’s talk about depression at college. No, not because there was something recently that came up in the news, but quite the opposite actually; it’s never in the news.

Depression at college is incredibly common. And why wouldn’t it be? Take anyone and uproot them from their family and friends, move them a couple hundred miles away (if not more), saddle them with an enormous amount of responsibility (homework, finals, paying their own bills, feeding themselves, getting a job, finding a girlfriend, etc.), tell them they have to choose what they are going to do for the rest of their lives and then call them a failure if their unsure and yeah…I think just about anyone faces a pretty high risk of becoming depressed.

So should you be feeling a bit depressed at your university, here are a few tips to coping:

1.) Do not generalize your experience. All universities are not the same, and it’s completely normal for your first choice to simply be a bad fit. Just as one English professor shouldn’t cause you to lose faith in all English classes, neither should one university cause you to lose faith in all colleges. A change in major, living arrangements or university itself may do wonders for your mood.

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2.) College is temporary. This is not a lifelong decision! College is meant to be four years long, just like high school. You made it through high school, right? And if you want to make the time go by faster, consider taking more credits, or taking credits during breaks (Christmas Break and over the summer). You will not be in this situation forever.

3.) Depression is more common than you think. It may seem like an enormous risk, but go to your student health center and talk to someone. You’ll find that you are absolutely not alone! Depression at college is incredibly common (it’s estimated at roughly 40%…and that’s only based on reported information). So understand that you are in no way alone in this and you are in no way strange or weird for feeling this way.

4.) You don’t have to go to college. A huge source of anxiety for many college students is the idea that if they drop out of college that they are a failure; not so. College is simply a path some people take to reach a career goal; it is by no means an absolute necessity. You can choose to go into the military, to take individual trade or skill classes, or wait until you’re working for a company you’d like to advance in (a lot of times companies offer to pay for additional classes and training). Don’t freak out if you aren’t fitting into the perfect mold of a traditional college student. It just means maybe a different path would be a better option, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

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