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5 Ways To Better Mental Health & Succeed In The New Semester

Updated: Apr 16

Starting a new semester can be hard. There can be so much anxiety, apprehension, and even excitement that goes into starting a new semester. Maybe last semester you didn’t perform as well as you wanted, you didn’t find a good friend group in college, or were struggling with anxiety in college preventing you from getting great grades, making new friends, or trying new activities. 

You want this semester to go well where you are able to spend time with friends, make good grades, and not feel as stressed or anxious about school and college life. You want to feel like you are managing it all well and able to have the full college experience. Below are 5 tips to help you have your best college semester and maintain or even improve your mental health. 

1: Get Organized In College To Protect Your Mental Health

For a fresh start this semester and to do your best academically, it is important to get organized and find an organization system that works for you. What we at Willow Tree Healing Center recommend for college clients is that when you get your syllabi, go ahead and put them all on a calendar, preferably a weekly calendar and a monthly calendar. It can be helpful to use both so you see what’s upcoming in the month and can begin to break it down. 

It may also be helpful to add start dates to papers or start dates to studying for tests so you aren’t surprised when they come up. This way you are breaking down your assignments before even beginning the semester. When you break them into manageable chunks, they are easier to complete without needing to pull all-nighters when they suddenly creep up on you. 

Some college students like planners, bullet journals, their computer or email calendars. Some like paper to-do lists where they can easily mark off items each day and feel accomplished. The important thing is to find what works for you to stay organized.

2: Get Connected To Keep And Improve Your Mental Health In College

An important part of managing stress, especially in college, is to find a place where you feel that you belong, where you walk in and feed at home, and a place where you feel accepted. This could be a club, group activity, or a place of a mutual hang out spot. Having a place where you feel accepted and belong will be crucial to maintaining good mental health in college and lowering stress levels, plus having better grades.

If a hard part of belonging for you is struggling with social anxiety, therapy can help to decrease social anxiety, increase your social skills, and help you find a good friend group where you belong. If you have a friend who is struggling with social anxiety, click here. Trauma therapy can also be helpful if you have had a trauma that prevents you from moving forward with friends or relationships. 

3: Set Up Self-Care Habits To Keep Good Mental Health In College

The beginning of the semester is a great place to see what challenges were in the past semester and where you want to improve. This could be with getting your space more organized this semester, working out more, eating healthier, using more coping skills when you are stressed, having routine time away from studying, or dealing better with situations with family or friends.

Therapy can be a great place to help with setting up self-care habits and looking at better ways to manage stress or anxiety. Therapy can help by teaching coping skills to manage stress and anxiety, look at ways to improve your mental wellbeing and balancing act that is college, and helping you feel your best when you connect with friends. Therapy can also help you set small but manageable goals to keep up with the demands of college.

4: Locate Resources In College To Improve Your Performance

In college, there are often a lot of resources that people aren’t aware of. It can be useful to check in with your advisor or study center about any resources you might be missing out on, such as tutoring which can set a good foundation from the beginning in more challenging classes, the writing center to help you learn how to hone your writing in college or get an extra set of eyes on your paper, or even a group on how to set up good habits for academic success. It can also be helpful to set up a class study group to share notes. Bonus points, your professor will notice your extra effort and may be more willing to help you if needed. 

College can be great, overwhelming, stressful, and some of the best years of your life. To help it stay the best years of your life, therapy can be helpful to work on you getting the most out of your experience.

If you are looking to for help with college life, Mary Willoughby (Romm) Prentiss is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia who provides online therapy for Willow Tree Healing Center. She enjoys transforming the lives of women, college students, kids, tweens/teens, and families through providing communication strategies, coping skills that work, allowing a safe space to be heard, and actively working towards helping you with your challenges. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (ages 2-7) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, counsels substance abuse in teens and adults, and practices Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.

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