As fall semester enters its third week, Alma College students are forced to put their summer clothes away and get back into the school schedule. Many students can be affected by the drastic change in schedule, causing their mental health to deteriorate as the semester goes on.
Students have different ways of taking care of themselves with a busy school schedule. “When I get overwhelmed, I shut down,” said Kirstyn Cotton (’21).
“I try to take half an hour every day to listen to music and chill. It helps me destress when school stuff becomes a lot to handle.” Students are encouraged by staff members to reach out for help in order to achieve academic success. That assistance can come from signing up for a tutor, going to professors’ office hours and making an appointment at the Counseling and Wellness Center.
Kali Prillwitz (‘21) takes a different approach to balancing her busy schedule. “I tend to go into a routine. I schedule my showers, and I make sure I go home after lunch to relax. I make sure that even though I might have a lot of stuff to do, that is my time,” said Prillwitz.
Sometimes simple things can help you manage a busy semester. “Keeping a planner is always good,” said Prillwitz. “I bought a watch last year; I use it to keep track of my time and stay on schedule by setting alarms and timers. I also take Sundays to do my homework, but I don’t touch it on Saturdays. I like to keep my Saturdays open for friends, football games and extracurriculars.”
There are a variety of things students can do on campus to relieve stress: going to therapy cat/dog night, going out with friends or just taking a little extra time before bed for themselves.
Sometimes students need a little extra help when it comes to taking care of themselves. David Weir from the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center encourages students to reach out for a variety of situations.
“Students at Alma College seek counseling for a variety of reasons,” said Wier. “These include stress, anxiety, homesickness and adjustment concerns, perfectionism, depression, grief, drug and alcohol concerns, suicidal thoughts, relationship and roommate issues, sexual and gender identity, intimate partner violence and sexual assault and abuse.”
Fears can emerge within college students when they think about making an appointment with a counselor. Wier hopes students who are nervous about making their first counseling appointment can view their mental health the same as they do their physical health.
“If you have a physical illness or break a bone, you go to the doctor without hesitation,” said Wier. “If you’re feeling down, struggling in an area of your life, or just don’t feel like yourself, a counselor can be a great resource to help you identify the problem and develop solutions to it.”
Even though many students have not been to the Counseling and Wellness Center, they know that it can benefit them. “I’ve never been, but I’ve thought about going often,” said Prillwitz. “I think it would be nice to have another person to talk to outside of my professors.”
The Wilcox Medical Center has gone through some updates this summer, which includes the combination of the Medical Center and the Counseling and Wellness Center. Students can contact the Counseling and Wellness Center Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. –5 p.m. at 989-463-7225