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Mental Health

The Importance of a Strong Support System in College

After going through some bad events in my life recently I realized that I needed people and their help even more than ever. I will be the first person to admit that I am always in denial about needing help even though I know I am personally struggling. The people that are part of my support system know better than that and have come to be there anyway no matter what. 

Support systems are people in your life who are there for you when you have physical, emotional, or mental issues that are negatively impacting you. They are the people who can confide in to comfort you but also push you forward. Even when you may not like it, they will challenge you to not allow anything to defeat you. Every single person will tell you to keep on fighting because you are a warrior. Not only that though because they will fight right next to you to help you because they know your value. I found that without a support system you stay in your rut and it takes a vastly greater amount of time to go back to the person you truly are. That is why you will need one there whether you need it or not at the present moment.

girl laying in bed feeling stressed out
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz from Unsplash

A solid support system in my opinion includes professionals, adults who you can look up to and trust (not necessarily your parents) and close friends and/or siblings. All of these people have a different perspective and role in your support team. Professionals are trained in the field and have more knowledge than anyone else in your system, but they may not necessarily be the most relatable. The adults you choose are still able to provide educated guidance yet they should know you extremely better on a personal level to be there through the days and nights when you need it. Lastly, your friends should be the people who you feel comfortable telling them everything. Notice take their advice cautiously since they are young like you, but know they are there for you through thick and thin. Every single one of these roles is crucial. All play a different part to make sure you are at the best you that they know you can be.

Four people holding each other in shades of purple
Photo by Vonecia Carswell from Unsplash

Being away at college these roles may present themselves slightly differently. The professionals I have still shed all of their intelligence on me, but my adult and friend’s importance vary. The adults I confide in the most are my parents, but that is more of a long-distance relationship. Yes, I do indeed call them every night and any time of any day I need them, but they cannot wipe my tears or give me a bear hug when I need it. My friends on the other hand are half here and half away. The ones in Madison, especially my roommates, are the ones who snuggle with me on the couch when I need it or come knocking on my door to see how I am doing. My other friends still call and text yet it will never be the same as in-person interaction. Well, my siblings still annoy me, but them getting me to laugh is less and less. These are an adjustment but their purposes are still needed for sure.

Courtesy of Freeform/Eric McCandless

A support system and its importance does not change with distance though. Everyone is still cheering you on, hurting when you are and sharing their motivation with you to move beyond whatever you are struggling with. It is so strange to me because even though I do not want to burden others, they love helping me. This is how it is for me too, I love helping the people I love. A support system makes all the difference. In college, there are so many changes and stressful things that this is what you will need to get you through it all. They are the ones who will get you to smile, hug you and always get your butt out and about to accomplish things. 

I am always here for anyone who needs someone like this or wants to expand or build their support system. Always feel free to reach out to me no matter what. I am here for you.

Kate O’Leary

Wisconsin '23

Kate is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Madison majoring in Biology and Sociology. She is the proud co-president of Her Campus Wisconsin. Kate enjoys running, spending time with friends, cheering on the Badgers and making the absolute best crepes ever!
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