Mental health in college
Studying is one of the most beautiful times in life for many people.
However, “nice” does not automatically always mean easy. Studying requires a degree of discipline and independence that you didn’t necessarily need during your school years.
Without question, this leads to strong, positive personality development; however, it can also lead to problems, worries or emotional pressure.
Especially at the beginning of their studies, during the exam phase or the final phase of a thesis, many students experience a certain amount of stress or overload. This in itself is not a bad thing, often you overcome the negative feeling, grow from the challenge and can be proud of what you have achieved in the end.
However, despite all your ambition, your mental health should never suffer as a result of your studies. That’s why it’s important to us to give you a few thoughts on the subject.
- Every:r fails exams. There may be people who manage their studies without failing an exam. The current authors of HSQ are definitely not among them. Of course it is frustrating to fail an exam and to be punished with the red X in the TUCaN app. However, experience shows that most students pass the exam in the second attempt and often even have a better understanding of the subject than they would have had otherwise. So don’t let it get you down, even if you end up with far fewer CPs in a semester than you would have liked. This is especially true in the first semester.
- Standard study time is a recommendation, not an average**. Of course, studying in a standard period of study is papatastic. But the department’s well-kept statistics show that most students need a few extra semesters to graduate. This is not to encourage you to intentionally slow down, but each:r should manage their studies at a pace that is appropriate for them and doable without overwhelm.
- Meditation and yoga works evidence-based. Hard to believe, but the positive effects of meditation and yoga are scientifically proven. Besides exercise, there are probably few things that simply help as well against emotional pressure and stress as yoga and meditation. In stressful phases you should definitely try it out to come down a bit. Even if it feels very strange and pointless at first. There are also yoga courses offered by Unisport, which you can attend for free Unisport-Zentrum (USZ).
- The others just seem smarter. The feeling that everyone else is smarter than you is something most students encounter at some point studying. It doesn’t matter if you failed an exam that all of your friends passed, or if a fellow student explains operational amplifier circuits to you for the tenth time. In such moments, you feel clueless and incompetent. It is important not to get involved in the classic mental negative loops. Better to reflect on your own strengths and not see your own incompetence in every failure. You are just as smart as everyone else. Unless you take the “Computational Electrodynamics” specialization. Then you are smarter than everyone else!
- Fellow students are the best motivation. Teamwork is enormously important in your studies. Understanding complex content or meeting deadlines alone is much more difficult. It saves you a lot of unnecessary stress if you look for a fixed (study) group with which you take subjects together. This way, you can get all the important information from the courses together and can help each other out if you have problems understanding the material. In addition, experience has shown that “peer pressure” makes it easier for you to motivate yourself to study!
If you have not found a study group at the beginning of your studies, it is of course never too late. There is, for example, the Fachschaft, where you can meet nice people, the meetings are open to the public and anyone can join. You are also welcome to come just to listen. At our department there is also the possibility to register at the Digital Learning Center and look for like-minded people there. Also, unisport is a good way to make new contacts, although friendships are more likely to form there than study groups, because most of them probably won’t be studying the same thing as you. Additionally, you can also get involved in a university group to meet people and do something meaningful at the same time.
- Get Help. At the university there are countless places that can help you with any problems you may have. We would like to encourage you to look for support for problems of any kind. If in doubt, the first place to go is always the student council. We will try to help you with any problem that you cannot solve on your own. So you are never completely on your own. You can find more contact points in the next paragraph.
Points of contact
Finally, we would like to emphasize that these tips can under no circumstances replace professional help. So if you encounter psychological problems during your studies, don’t hesitate to seek professional help inside or outside the university. At the TU, for example, there is the Psychotherapeutic Counseling Center, which also offers free counseling for things like exam anxiety or learning difficulties.
Outside of the university, there are also offers, for example, the Telefonseelsorge. However, it is best to also talk to your family doctor, who will work with you on long-term treatment options.
In very acute psychological emergencies of you or people close to you, you should in any case dial the emergency number (110 or 112), there you will also get immediate help in psychological emergencies. We would also like to ask you to pay attention to your fellow students. If you notice that someone in your university (or private) circle of friends is going through a difficult time, don’t look away but refer them to the appropriate places to help them. Thank you and stay healthy!
Here we would like to link you to some interesting websites and videos about mental health in college. If you know other interesting sources on the topic, please send us an email and we will add them here.