I have an obsession with tasks. I love accumulating them, categorizing them in to-do lists, and leaving reminders of them everywhere in my room on little slips of paper.
Sometimes, these “shoulds” begin to weigh on me. I begin to believe the lie that I have to be perfect. I let my relationships suffer and I become discouraged about my workload. I can’t sleep. I feel stupid, tired, worthless.
Is this because of my personality, the stresses of university, or just a part of life? Probably all three. And if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that I’m not the only one stressing out.
This is an excerpt taken from an article written by Kate Lunau for Maclean’s on the high incidence of mental illness in university students:
“In 2011, 1,600 University of Alberta students took part in the National College Health Assessment survey. The problems students identified are playing out across the country.
Mental health issue experienced at any time within the last 12 months
Felt things were hopeless: 51.3
Felt overwhelmed by all you had to do: 87.5
Felt exhausted (not from physical activity): 87.1
Felt very lonely: 61.7
Felt very sad: 65.6
Felt so depressed that is was difficult to function: 34.4
(U of A total %)”
When you first start out at university, you may feel isolated – it’s normal. One of the most powerful things you can do is reach out to others.
The reality is that the people around you are probably dealing with similar feelings and issues, so I’d encourage you to step out to make new friends. Build relationships, offer and receive support, and cultivate community in your new location.
It probably won’t happen all at once, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
You don’t need to struggle alone.