Seniors are your best guides

Study habits, relationship advice, overall wellness are important topics for freshmen

College+can+feel+like+a+confusing+mess+of+twists+and+turns.+Upperclassmen+are+the+best+people+to+turn+to+when+you+need+guidance+through+every+kind+of+issue.+

KESTRA ENGSTROM

College can feel like a confusing mess of twists and turns. Upperclassmen are the best people to turn to when you need guidance through every kind of issue.

MEGHAN HENRY, Evergreen opinion editor

Upperclassmen can tell you that your first years at WSU will be some of your most formative. The boundaries we set, relationships we build and habits we create for ourselves all affect the rest of your time here.

They will also most likely influence the rest of our lives in some way.

I like to think they are more important than a single grade we get in any given class, or whether or not you wait a year to join a club or intramural sports team.

All of this to say – there are things we can do for ourselves in our first years at WSU that will change our lives in a positive way. One of those things is how we take care of our mental health.

Jenna Chandler, senior criminal justice major, said she relied on friends in her sorority and classes to help her get through the tough experiences of freshman year.

Particularly as a new college student, there is a lot of pressure that comes with choosing a major.

“I thought I had to go into a certain area of study,” Chandler said. “I was very unhappy in my first semester in my studies. It kind of took a while for me to realize it’s not a bad thing for you to take a step back and study what you’re actually passionate about.”

What we study is such an important aspect of our college life, but so many of us do not realize its influence until we are sophomores or juniors.

That is where a mentor or an older friend can step in with the best kind of advice: the kind that can save you a lot of time.

“I found that turning to the older people that have had some experience, like people in my major that can give me advice about things they did [really helped],” said senior neuroscience major, Conner Rath.

Older Cougs are the perfect place to turn to with questions – especially the ones that feel overwhelming. They have gone through all of it before and have seen what procrastination, skipping class or sticking with a major you hate can really do to your mental wellness.

Any of them will tell you that, whatever you choose to do with your time in Pullman, you have to make sure you take time to know yourself and what you need to be healthy.

This is such an underrated skill. If you believe you are incapable of being the person who journals or meditates or works out … you are not the only one. I was in a hole of repetitive half measures when it came to my mental health and many upperclassmen have been in the same place.

When I started to see the negative affects of not knowing how to take care of myself mentally, I recognized how vital the little things – making a schedule for myself, working out, meditating, making sure I spend time outside and making time for my friends – are for my health and happiness.

“For me, just getting outside and going for runs, hiking through nature and working out every day [helps me] because mental health and physical health tend to go hand in hand,” Rath said.

But when it comes to school, the biggest stress for me was always the fear of falling behind on assignments.

“One of the biggest places that stress can come from in college is just missing assignments,” Rath said. “Especially freshman year when it’s a new system … being on top of [staying organized] eliminates the stress from missing things and you can just get things done.”

However, it should be said that missing a class or a discussion post is part of being human.

“There are always going to be people that it seems like everything is going perfect for them,” Chandler said. “But you won’t have to look far to find someone who relates to your experience. So I think for me the connection in that aspect helped me not feel alone.”

Students around you will do better on an exam, have a different way of studying, or even study less than you and do better on an assignment. Regardless, they are struggling with something, too.

Balanced mental health is recognizing this reality and knowing that you need to find what works best for you in order to succeed in school and in life.

Organization, though important, has to be paired with purposeful grace for yourself. You will mess up; it is just a matter of how you handle it that determines if your mistakes will benefit you or hurt you in the long run.