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Mental Health

How to Survive School with Depression

I have had depression longer than my college career and it has been one of the hardest struggles that I have had to deal with throughout my entire college experience. However, I am finally going to graduate and I cannot be more excited to have my degree and be done with school for a while. I understand that so many people struggle with mental illnesses but here are some of the ways that I dealt with my depression while in school.

Time Management:

This one was a little difficult for me since I’m so terrible at managing my time. However, just having a planner or calendar really helped a lot. You don’t even need a daily or weekly planner. Monthly, or yearly, planners can make a huge difference in how you spend your time. Or a simple daily to-do list could be beneficial. This allows you dedicate certain times or days to studying and/or relaxing.

Taking Some Days Off:

Going to school as often as possible is great, but I know that there can be days where your world just feels like it is imploding and all you want to do is stay in bed and let it. On these, stay in bed. Just take a day to recuperate and recover. School is stressful and sometimes that can be overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself before school. You are the most important thing in your life, so make sure to take time to take care of yourself.

Keeping Busy:

A little opposite of that, I also found that staying busy really helps me fight my depression. If I never have time to think about it, I can push it off for a while. It is not the best solution, but it does help me stick to a schedule or routine. It also helps me stay organized and forces me to plan things in advance. I recommend finding an on campus job since they are flexible and work around your school schedule. I have two on campus jobs and several extracurricular activities that help keep me busy.


Something that I have noticed that comes with my depression is the feeling of loneliness. Even though I’m surrounded by other students who are probably struggling as hard as I am, I still feel alone. Even though I smile and wave to people I recognize on campus, I still feel alone. Whenever this is the case, I plug my earphones in and just drown out the rest of the world with some music. It helps alleviate the loneliness and it helps when I’m feeling anti-social.

Communicating with Professors:

This is actually very important. While some teachers may not be sympathetic to your situation, there are still plenty of teachers who are very understanding and can help lighten your stress load. I often have a hard time going to classes because of my depression and anxiety and when I explain this to my professors, they excuse me from class and update me on the things that I have missed. A lot of teachers also have resources that you can use.


These are just some helpful tips that I use to help me stay functioning with my depression. I hope it can help those of you who have mental illnesses with yours. Stay strong and know that you are not alone; everyone is struggling with something.

Alaia is an English Major at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is a Senior and has been attending UHM for a year and a half. Her hobbies include, writing, reading, hiking, going to the beach, watching movies, listening to music, and hanging out with good company.
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