We’re all in the same boat: there is no shame in seeking counseling

As students face an unprecedented semester, it is important for them to prioritize their mental health and to remember that UH counseling services are available to serve their needs. | File photo

As students face an unprecedented semester, it is important for them to prioritize their mental health and to remember that UH counseling services are available to serve their needs. | File photo

In an unprecedented year like 2020, every aspect of our lives has been affected, and going back to school at a time like this can be especially stressful and nerve racking for a lot of students, many of which are currently struggling with their mental health. 

As the fall semester approaches, take a moment to remember that dealing with your mental health is important! Know that you aren’t alone.

Most people have worries when it comes to going back to school, and these troubles are being magnified as we come back under the conditions of the pandemic that we are experiencing today. All of these concerns are equally valid and important to acknowledge. 

Mental health concerns amplified by the pandemic

UH sophomore Cristina Tomayo is concerned about her success with online classes because of the format. 

“I have a lot of anxiety building up to the start of the semester because I’m worried I’ll fail due to the online format,” Tomayo said. “I’m worried that towards the end I’m gonna grow more unmotivated and depressed.”

 These feelings of uncertainty are shared among students, some worry about the social aspect and the lack of interaction during the pandemic, like UH freshmen Nicole Perez and Maria Magaña. 

“Being home all the time gave me so much time to think and, although that might sound good, it sort of didn’t feel like it. I found myself overthinking on the negative and as cliche as it sounds, ‘fighting a battle with myself.’ I physically start shaking at the thought of having to go out now and socialize, but I know that will soon pass,” Perez said.

“Currently, I do not have any worries. Because the last semester of high school was online, I feel like I have enough experience to balance my classes. However, during the stay at home order, I did experience anxiety. Being stuck in my room was not a wonderful feeling,” Magaña said. 

Many people are carrying their fears and troubles from earlier this year and their last semester, but it is vital that we don’t let them get in the way of our success in this new semester.

We need to acknowledge these troubles so that we do not make the same mistakes and so that we are better prepared to face, overcome and prevent them from reoccurring. 

These feelings of anxiety can definitely be eased and put to rest when we have the right resources and people around us to encourage us to do our best and let nothing get in the way of us prospering.   

Feeling uneasy about this upcoming semester 

Positivity and optimism can be reassuring in tough times and knowing that there are people who can support you can bring much needed relief.

“What I’m worried about most is feeling alone,” Perez said. “It’s terrifying because the way I think about college right now is it’s me versus the rest of the students at UH. My point is, I have a new start. I have to find the people that can support me through college and create new friendships in a new environment, 6-feet apart of course, and I’m ready for the challenge.” 

Just like Perez, Magaña understands the importance of socialization and interaction with peers. 

“With classes being online, it will be more difficult to talk with my peers and get the valuable interaction that is needed,” Magaña said. 

In order to receive the help and support you need, you must gain a better understanding of how you feel, your mental state and recognize what your biggest worries are.

Although choosing to put off dealing with our emotions may seem like the “easy way out,” trust me when I say, it’s not. Ignoring these concerns will only hurt you in the long run, and honestly, it isn’t worth it. 

Yes, we all fear being alone this semester, but that is exactly why it’s important to reach out to others, your peers, your university, anyone. Who knows, maybe they’re going through a similar experience as you.    

Academic performance 

The relationship between mental health and academic performance is clear for many students who are starting the year with concerns over the format.

“Since the switch to online classes, I’ve found it harder to focus, remember I have class, take notes and for me to understand the material. I know plenty of people who work around it just fine, so I should be able to do it. For some reason though, I feel like I can’t,” Tomayo said.

“I definitely see this harming my academic performance. My focus will not be 100 percent on my lectures while at home,” Magaña said. 

Although it is easy to focus on the negative, reminding yourself of your goals and aspirations can be encouraging. 

“I do believe that because of all the things on my mind, I will be putting my energy into things that aren’t important but it’s just something I need to continue to be conscious about. I need to take accountability for my own education and it’s the one thing driving me, so I must remind myself what I’m doing this for,” Perez said. 

By thinking specifically about how your worries can affect you academically, you’re given the chance to better prepare yourself to intercept these potential impacts. 

It takes longer to continuously have to come up with temporary solutions to your problems, so why not just take a few minutes to face your fears and come up with a solution to ensure they don’t happen again? 

Although these students have their own struggles and fears for the fall, UH is prepared to help everyone meet their needs.

“I also have no doubt that there will be someone on campus to help me along the way, even if it doesn’t feel like that in the moment, because I know I won’t be able to do it all on my own, and I don’t have to!” Perez said.

 The University has put in place treatments and counseling services, such as CAPS, to offer support and guidance.

Because our University offers solutions for our mental well being, I believe it is important to take advantage of them whenever we need an extra hand. 

It’s never too late to reach out for help, and it’s important that everyone realizes that your mental health should be a priority.

Kimberly Argueta is a political science freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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