By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist
As the summer nears, many students are anticipating positive experiences such as a break from classes, or fewer classes, study abroad, vacation, time away from academics, work, internship, job search, etc.
Some students are approaching graduation from college or graduate/professional school.
While these can overall be positive for most students, some students can experience negative emotions during this time.
What are some sources of stress that students can experience as summer approaches?
Some examples include:
- Stress of graduation, moving, finding a job or internship.
- Major life transition from being a student to being in the workforce, and related lifestyle changes
- Increased isolation
- Change in relationships, friendships, and environment as you move away from college
- Changes in sleep, eating, and social schedules
What are some negative emotions that students can experience as summer/graduation approaches?
While very little research exists in this area, as college mental health clinicians, this time of year, we will often see students experiencing:
- Decreased motivation
- Increase in depression, anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased feelings of stress
- Changes in appetite, irritability
- In some cases, worsening of a pre-existing mental health condition.
What are some ways to manage this?
- Recognize the changes that you are experiencing as a result of this transition.
- Think about how you were impacted, and what helped you during previous transition points in your life such as graduating from high school, or undergrad and transitioning to the next level, other life transitions, etc.
- Consider making a plan to address the upcoming transition
- Get organized, maintain lists
- Maintain healhty habits, now more than ever. (see links below)
- Some students might benefit from making a plan to maintain a connection with friends and other experiences they found meaningful during college
- It may be helpful to think of ways to incorporate what you liked in the past, into your future transition (summer, life after graduation, etc).
- Others may find it helpful to identify positive aspects of the upcoming changes
- Enlist the help of others.
Resources to manage stress, and increase resilience to deal with change:
- Become more resilient:
- Manage stress:
- Dealing with Uncertainty: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-uncertainty.aspx
Are there useful stress management resources on campus?
- OSU Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service
- OSU Stress and Anxiety Clinic
- OSU Student Wellness Center for wellness coaching and related services.
- OSU Wexner Medical Center offers relaxation skills
- Check out SMART Lab
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.