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29 Life-Saving Tips They Didn't Teach You At College Orientation

Campus life can be a big stressful shitshow sometimes. Here's how to look after your mental health the right way.

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community and a few mental health experts to share the best ways to take care of yourself in college.

Whether you're dealing with issues like depression or anxiety or just want to protect yourself against the overwhelming thing that is college life, here is everything you need to know about taking care of your mental health on campus.

And quick heads-up: These tips are great places to start thinking about and taking care of your mental health. But they are by no means an all-encompassing guide to handling depression, anxiety, or other disorders in college. We'll be tackling each of those in more detail in the future and will update this post with the links when they're up.

1. First things first, recognize that your mental health MATTERS.

2. Give yourself time to make friends (and don't feel bad if it doesn't happen right away).

3. Alter your ideas of what it means to be successful, because college is a LOT different than high school.

4. Understand that depression and anxiety are very common on college campuses.

5. Do not compare your life to what everyone else is posting on Facebook or Instagram.

6. Find a place that is only yours.

7. Remind yourself often that NO ONE has their shit together, even if you feel like you're the only one floundering.

"I wish I knew that it's okay to feel stressed, anxious, nervous, or upset about something. A lot of people my freshman year seemed like their lives were put together and it made me feel like the odd one out for being stressed and unsure about my future. Just because someone else has it all figured out doesn't mean you need to as well."

—Gabriella Salazar, via Facebook

8. Know what resources are available to you BEFORE you need them.

9. Same with talking to your professors about any issues you might deal with before they become a problem.

10. Then, actually use those resources when you need them. Take advantage of accommodations. Talk to a counselor.

11. Pay attention to how drinking and partying make you feel.

12. Develop a relationship with your academic adviser.

13. Make time for self-care.

14. Don't be afraid to drop classes or change majors if you need to.

15. Have some expectations — and then get ready for them to change.

16. You don't need a "good" reason to seek help or therapy.

17. If you live in the dorms, your RAs are great, compassionate resources to chat with.

18. SLEEP, seriously. And exercise and eat well.

19. Don't try to hide what you're going through.

20. Know the warning signs that you might not be doing so hot.

21. Then, check up on yourself regularly.

22. There is no time limit on adjusting to college, so don't feel bad if it takes you longer than you think it should.

"Don't believe all the thoughts your anxiety and depression give you like I did. If something in your head tells you, 'Everyone else is adjusting and getting used to college, why aren't you?' remember that almost everyone is thinking that too. It's just that some people are better at hiding it than others."


23. Don't be an overachiever your first semester.

24. But do try to find one group or organization that you're really pumped about.

25. If you're thinking about changing up your treatment or medication plan, consider waiting until later in the year.

26. Don't let FOMO rule you — saying no is totally fine.

27. Don't become too dependent on friends and family back home.

28. Give yourself breaks — even if you have a million things to do.

Doing homework in the middle of the night

"It's OK to have days where you don't do any work. Allow yourself time to rest and recuperate. You're not going to produce your best work if you're drinking cans of energy drink and forcing yourself to sit in a cold, dark library whilst you stare at the screen of your laptop trying to grasp inspiration for out of thin air."


29. Lastly, remind yourself whenever possible...