Advice for First-Year Students
Over the past three and a half years, my college experience has been a whirlwind. From having my entire world turned upside down by a global pandemic, to struggling to adapt to a brand-new way of learning, to returning to a campus that I was no longer familiar with two years later, my time at CSULB has been anything but normal. As a first-year student in the fall of 2019, I was excited and ready for whatever college could throw at me. For a while, I was able to handle myself with ease, but as my second semester came around, I began to crumble under the pressure as we went into lockdown.
If I could give any word of advice to first-year students in preparation for their academic journey, it would be to prioritize yourself. It is unbelievably easy to get caught up in all the deadlines, social activities, clubs, organizations, and work that you begin to forget about the most important thing: your own well-being. For myself, putting my mental health on the back burner at the start of my college career affected me greatly. I often got little sleep, forgot to eat, and put my work before everything else. This resulted in my depression and anxiety worsening until I was nearly burnt out. In the end, dedicating all my time to my schoolwork resulted in me being so mentally and physically exhausted that I was unable to complete work at all. It took me some time to realize that I needed to start taking time for myself, but once I did, my college experience was made that much better (and easier!).
I really advise incoming students to find the things that make them happy, whether that be activities or hobbies like meditation, drawing, writing, etc. and make sure to incorporate them into your daily schedules. Despite how busy or important life and work may seem, taking time for yourself to decompress is necessary for your mental well-being and overall happiness. Speaking from experience, no deadline is worth sacrificing your own health!