Written by Maria Adam, MS Accounting ‘23 –
It is hard to deny that your mental health takes a toll in college. Pressures regarding exams, grades, extracurricular activities, and personal obligations outside of campus can all have a negative cumulative impact on your mental well-being. Just like taking care of your physical health, it is important to take care of your mental health as well. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Below are five tips to managing your mental health as a UB student:
- Know yourself: Know what makes you you and figure out how you function best. From sleep, exercise, alone-time (we all need it!), social connections—making all these things happen is up to you. I know it can be hard, but do not compare yourself to others. We are all on our own unique journeys, no matter how similar some aspects may be. Knowing yourself is key to putting yourself first and putting yourself first will allow you to thrive in many ways.
- SMART goals: Set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based. These are different then general goals, like “I want to get an A in my class.” SMART goals sound more like, “This week I am going to attend office hours and spend two hours studying each day this weekend for my exam on Monday.” You can apply SMART goals to situations outside of academics. I have found that making SMART goals helps to decrease overall stress and anxiety tied to accomplishing them.
- Time management: This might be one of the most important keys to not being overwhelmed by the rigor of your college education. Utilize a planner each semester! On your phone, computer, tablet, or a traditional paper planner. At the beginning of each semester, I go through each class’s syllabus and add all due dates into my planner. Then I take it day by day, making a weekly schedule for when I will work on what with regards to due dates and my own personal schedule. For me, this has made it easier for me to recognize down time and try to “relax” in those times when I am not working on school or other obligations.
- Take a break: This tip ties into time management. Try not to overbook your schedule so that you can have some flexibility should something arise that requires your time and attention. Also, while making your weekly schedule, be sure to schedule intentional “quiet time” to help calm your mind. During this time, try and stay away from screens (we are already looking at them all day!) and instead meditate, listen to your favorite (relaxing) music, or get outside for a walk!
- Talk to someone: You do not need to be experiencing something highly traumatic to take advantage of talking to a counselor. Sometimes it is nice to have a set time to talk to an unbiased third party about you and the stresses of your everyday life. They can offer validation, advice, assistance in goal setting and time management, and build your support network. There are resources here on campus that you can take advantage of, as well as numerous outside resources as well. It can be as easy as jumping on a video call.
Remember, your mental health is as important as your grades! Ensuring a well-functioning you is imperative to making everything else happen in your life. Take care of and believe in yourself, make SMART goals, schedule your days with the help of a planner, take regular breaks, and reach out for support if you need it. Taking care of your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of.
BIO: I was born and raised here in Buffalo, NY and have overcome a lot of challenges I faced growing up as a child. I did not go to college right out of high-school, but that is where I took my first accounting class and my interests began. I ended up going back to pursue accounting at around 21 years old. I started at ECC for the first two years of my education and then transferred to UB. When I was to start my junior year as an accounting major here at UB, I found out I was expecting my daughter. I was discriminated against because of the fact; however, I continued my education here at UB. I took an extra year to finish my undergrad, but I did with a 3.85 GPA (I was told I wouldn’t be able to keep up a good GPA as a mother in the accounting program-but I did!) I am now finishing my master’s degree in accounting and have already passed the FAR section of the CPA exam over summer 2022. I have the most relevant experience interning as a tax intern at CTBK, where I have accepted a full-time position starting in October 2023 and I will be interning again with them for busy season early in 2023.
Note: The UB North Counseling Services are located at 120 Richmond Quad, 716-645-2720, free services are available for all UB students.