As a junior, I know how challenging the IMSA curriculum is. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with stress, especially with the return to campus, and your concerns about meeting academic and social expectations are valid. Here are some tips I’ve compiled for managing your mental health on campus.
At IMSA, many people are willing to listen to you, like guidance counselors, resident counselors (RCs), and your friends. If you are ever struggling with anything, talking to someone about it will help. You can visit any of the guidance counselors, Kevin Kusy, Keisha Rheams, or Alexis Pratt, through online or in-person appointments. For online appointments, you can schedule one through thera-LINK. They are also available for appointments or walk-ins from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. One of the purposes of resident counselors is to make IMSA students feel comfortable They, along with the IMSA community at large, are here to listen to you if you need support. Making friends may seem intimidating but engaging in extracurriculars and reaching out to classmates will easily allow you to have someone to talk to.
Try Some Stress Relievers:
Experimenting with new ways to cope with stress can be helpful. Fortunately, there are many stress relievers to choose from. Some of the most common ones are journaling, meditating, and socializing. When I first started at IMSA, I began to journal, and I’m so glad that I did. I found journaling as a great way to let out everything from the good to the bad. It allowed me to evaluate my feelings and be at peace.
Meditating is a great way to calm yourself down if you feel under pressure. There are many great relaxing videos that range from ten minutes to one hour. My personal favorite meditation videos are from everyone’s favorite tutor, Sal Khan. He provides mediation videos about dealing with stress from school.
Lastly, I know it’s important to study but it’s also important to socialize. Take a break from homework every once in a while and hang out with friends. You could also try joining a fun club or play a sport. This is all about finding balance. Try to find some time for studying and going to friends.
Take Care of Yourself:
There’s a saying that goes, “a healthy body is a healthy mind.” Therefore, it’s important to enhance your health by staying active and having a balanced diet.
Exercising has many benefits. It lowers stress by releasing endorphins that can improve your sleep and self-image. Going to the fitness center, walking around campus, or playing a sport is an effective way to keep your body healthy.
What you eat also plays an important role in taking care of yourself. The food from Lexington may not be what you prefer, but it’s important to remember to consume a balance of fiber, protein, and fat. Your body needs energy, and a well-balanced diet would satisfy your body’s needs. You can plan ahead of time what you would like to eat on the Lexington menu website. However, moderation is key. Ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant or eating some snacks wouldn’t hurt you.
Regardless of your grade level, this school year is different and unfamiliar. For many, it’s the first school year back fully since 2018-2019. The adjustment may be challenging, but don’t think you are alone. I, along with every other student at IMSA, are all still adjusting. Remember to not be too hard on yourself during this school year. You got this!