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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Navigating university life can be quite demanding, especially for individuals like me who have accommodations to support a learning disability and ADHD. While I am grateful for them, the harsh reality is that the university environment is often isolating, not tailored for those with exceptionalities, and can be challenging for anyone aiming to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. Simply securing an intake appointment to discuss accommodations can be a drawn-out process, and as we all know, university is a fast-paced environment that waits for no one. We are all expected to meet deadlines, stay on top of readings, and adequately prepare for assessments, all while juggling a social life, exercise, and the quintessential “college experience.” In the face of this stress, students can turn to their school’s mental health services. However, these resources have been called out for being outdated, inaccessible, and inadequate. All things considered, it’s easy for students to feel as though they must tough it out alone.

It’s not just the university environment that fosters this sense of isolation, but also the broader context of Canada’s individualistic culture. While it’s crucial to develop resilience and self-sufficiency, there’s an underlying pressure that accompanies individualism—the expectation that we must achieve success almost entirely by our own efforts. Additionally, platforms like TikTok and Instagram can amplify this pressure. For instance, I often come across posts from students proudly proclaiming themselves as “academic weapons” and videos from student influencers detailing their overachieving morning and night routines.

Despite receiving emails encouraging us to seek academic and mental health support, I’ve found that taking that initial step can be quite intimidating (especially in the first year when professors and teaching assistants are swamped with hundreds of students and inquiries). In such circumstances, it’s easy to believe that your concerns or questions will get easily swept under the rug.

I spent some time deliberating whether it would be productive for me to reach out to accessibility services and attend office hours with my professors and TAs. I had difficulty organizing my deadlines and accurately estimating the time required for assignments and exam preparation. Eventually, I arrived at the seemingly obvious conclusion that I should schedule appointments with my TAs to discuss my paper ideas and contact a counsellor. To my surprise, the resources I reached out to not only assisted me in setting realistic goals but also motivated me to stay on track with my academic responsibilities.

The concept of seeking help when needed is one thing, but the real challenge lies in accepting that help and carving out time to connect with the resources available to us. It’s important to recognize that asking for assistance, whether it’s booking a counselling appointment, attending an intake session, or visiting office hours, is not only a productive step but also a means to gain clarity, if not an immediate solution, to the challenges we encounter in our academic journey.

Emma Rychliwsky

Queen's U '25

Third-year environmental studies/education major and writer/editor of the Queen's HC chapter. I love to write about mental health, academics, music, and whatever I am thinking about that week :)