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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

I grew up in a setting where I learned to write before speaking, respect others before respecting yourself and consciously invalidate mental health as “all in your head.”


Despite belonging to a diverse culture, I was never taught how to diversify my thoughts. 


In public relations, there is a term called agenda setting, where the media sets the public agenda. It may not be in the sense where they tell you what to think, but they may tell you what to think about.  In similar fashion, our education system sets the same hierarchy where basic things like mental health, mindfulness, self-care or emotional regulation back the last rank. 


This is what I believe should have been taught instead of the never-ending agendas for societal acceptance.

Importance of Mental Health

For almost a couple of years, I could not even acknowledge that I was dealing with mental health issues, let alone identify it. If only I had proper guidance and proper counseling, I may be in a better place today. 


With so many curriculums included in our education, why is mental health overlooked? We try to regulate everything except mental health because we never were taught the importance of it.


Getting familiar with the meaning of the word was quite a challenge for me, because I have never practiced it before. To those like me who are not aware of it, mindfulness is the act of purposely redirecting your attention to the present moment. 


Living in such a busy world, it is really easy to get lost. Everyone we know, including ourselves is constantly competing in a race, such as getting a job/internship, taking care of kids, working hard for a promotion, and so on. Somewhere along the line, we have lost touch with the present moment. 


Filtering your thoughts in an overwhelmed and tangled mind helps you gain a larger perspective of life. Enjoying and cherishing what you have and what you feel improves every dimension of your life.

Emotional Regulation

One of the most important things I have learned at the age of 20 is this. According to Psychology Today, “emotion regulation is the ability to exert control over one’s own emotional state.” 


It involves activities such as rethinking or reorganizing your thoughts, channelizing your heightened emotions, or distracting yourself from a triggering situation. 


It is a really great method to reduce anxiety or stress as it involves down/up regulation or reducing the intensity of your emotions. Having such control can help you tremendously where your reaction is necessary.


The concept of self-care was foreign to me until I got to college. With time, I realized that checking in with myself is extremely important. In fact, it has become a necessity for me. 


Most people who recommend self-care are not fully aware of it. 

Self-care isn’t something you do every once in a while. It’s a way of life. So, instead of treating it like a quick fix, you should stay committed to it and consistently take part in it to feel better — if only I was well informed!

Personal Financing

Being in college and realizing you are broke is an absolute nightmare. Personal financing skills are important, because without them, you would always be in debt, slaving for money, and would have no savings for a rainy day. 


Personal financing comes with practice, and it is a habit that has to be cultivated at an early stage. Knowing how to budget your wants and needs, and having financial freedom and an investment plan can take you a long way.

There are innumerable skills that can be listed here and should be taught in high school. Don’t forget — the entire purpose of education is to have a fulfilling life. Life can’t be that way if you are missing basic life skills. 


Learn something for the purpose of applying that knowledge in your life. I wish I had learned some of these essential things a little earlier in life — but better late than never.

Vrinda Agarwal is currently a Sophomore at Penn State studying Public Relations, minoring in Digital Media Trends and Entrepreneurship & Innovation. When not writing, she loves to sketch or binge-watch a Netflix show. "Make your own kind of music, even if nobody sings along! " 
Arden Ericson will graduate Penn State in May of 2023. As one of the Campus Correspondents for Her Campus at PSU, she is a double-major in Public Relations and French Language. After graduation, she will pursue a career that combines her passion for educational equity, social justice and French.