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Flow: How I Navigate Mental Health Changes in College

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 UCLA chapter.

As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to talk about how your mental health changes in college. For me, I have become much more cognizant of when I am getting into a funk or about to exit one. Whether that is because college students typically spend more time alone, or because you learn more about yourself in college, I truly believe that college is the time when many of us begin to realize how much it affects us. 

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When you feel good, you do good. I think when our mental health is on the up, we act like ourselves and begin to pursue things that we love. I know that when my mental health is on the up, I feel more like myself than ever. I see my friends more, I volunteer to do events and participate in clubs I’m in, and I am much more motivated to grind. I feel like I can truly conquer anything, especially in my classes. My grades are on the up, my friendships are thriving, I’m funnier, more confident, and have a clear idea of what my future will look like. I know that my mental health is at a good spot, and take advantage of it. However, what happens when you have a bad day? Can one bad day ruin your week? 

When you don’t feel good, your actions don’t necessarily reflect who you are. So often when we are angry, stressed, upset, or just having a bad day we don’t act how we normally would. For me, I may lash out at family or friends, or spend the entire day alone doom scrolling on TikTok. Having a day to myself is OK, but when I repeatedly isolate myself from others because I am not doing well mentally, I begin a vicious cycle that is so hard to get out of. Especially in college when everything is on the go, it can feel daunting to get yourself out of a rut. And I think most of us have experienced something like this, because college is hard sometimes. But, a bad day doesn’t have to ruin our college experiences for us. We can choose to make ourselves feel better, especially when we are in a rut. We sometimes have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

When I start to feel myself not wanting to hang out with friends or do schoolwork, I know my mental health isn’t at a good spot, so I kinda just force myself to do it. And I feel better afterwards. I think the key to making yourself feel better and improving your mental state is to get to know yourself, and realize that you are simply having a bad day. So, when you are having a good day, don’t take it for granted. And when you are having a not so good day, remember that it passes, and sometimes you have to continue to do your obligations because there will come a time when you have another great day. 

With that being said, use this time in college to figure out what you like, what you don’t like, what your passions are, what makes you feel like crap. Ultimately, expect a few days that don’t go your way, but remember that a rough patch or rut isn’t permanent. It flows like your mental health does. Especially with summer in a few weeks, why not get to know yourself and your brain a little bit better to reset for the school year or learn better habits in your free time?

Calina is a second year Communication Studies major and Global Studies minor at UCLA from Santa Cruz, California. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, going to the beach, exploring new places, and spending time with friends.