Campus stress is almost inevitable. But there are ways to anticipate it and alleviate it. And I have a few suggestions on how to handle this relative to needing to regulate your mind while being on campus.
1. Get off campus
Explore the world outside of your campus parameters for a change of pace. It’s easy to get frustrated with people you’re running into repeatedly, especially if you’re in a BSU or another cultural club (yall know what I’m getting at). Step outside of that and take in something that isn’t campus. Even if you just go to the movies.
2. Take care of your hair as regularly as possible
If you do your hair yourself, take a wash day to unwind. Deep condition and relax, clean, cook, catch up on shows, whatever you can do to be mildly productive without stress. When you’re done, you’ll be relaxed and will have gotten enhanced your day with productivity. Otherwise, everybody knows a barber or a kitchen beautician on campus. Neighboring salons and barbershops might also have student discounts. If you aren’t used to doing your hair yourself, try to patronize them. You don’t have to Beyoncé to the library to study, but feeling like you have it together can be enhanced by the smallest things. I’ve done a full face of makeup and wand curled my bundles just to go study. And I felt like a bad bihh while doing it. I stayed there longer than normal. People needed to see that I was cute.
3. If you’re a crammer:
Try to at least set the groundwork for your cram session in advance so you’re at least not having to start from absolute scratch when you finally sit down to study or write that paper. I’m a procrastinator AND perfectionist, but I don’t prefer to cram. Tasks tend to be put off because I want them to be perfect and I want to make sure I’m in a space to generate that perfection. But then there are deadlines and all hell breaks loose. Since I know I have last minute tendencies, I would tackle certain smaller tasks in advance. For example, since creating flashcards was my go to strategy to study for certain classes, I would at least create them in advance of actually sitting down to study. This way, if life came down to the night before, I wasn’t just starting to make them. I could then jump right into going in depth with the content. Taking a break from other work to make color coordinated flashcards was therapeutic on most days.
4. For my introverts:
Find a deserted place on campus to just “be”. Not just a quiet place, but a place where there is minimal foot traffic so the threat of having to converse with someone you know is almost a non-factor. College campuses are created for you to be around other people 24/7. We know how we feel about this (INFP here). Introverts can also get caught up in trying to fake the funk and socialize that we won’t realize until we are by ourselves again, how much we needed the alone time.
5. Connect with your kinfolk
In light of the recent events in Charlotesville, I felt the need to go back and add this piece into the post. While I know previous tips may suggest alone time for self-care. But for many who may enter hostile campuses in one way or another, having people you identify with to fall back on is important. You might wanna have a wash day with some other friends who also have full wash day regimens. Attend your campus cultural events. Just be around people who you identify with where you can be your true self once you take off the mask you wear on campus to go unnoticed.
6. Utilize campus psychological services
Chances are, this is included in your tuition fees. Basically, you’re paying for it. Utilize it. Even if you don’t see a long term need for it, you never know when you’ll have a crazy moment and need to talk to someone about it. At Stony Brook U where I did undergrad, you could call a hotline and speak to somebody. The hotline also ran during hours when the physical office was closed. I know it’s much more popular on campus to express your despair than to get help, but don’t be that person. And be vocal about the kind of help you need.
As you may have gathered from the tips, self-care on campus is directly linked to productivity. As opposed to simply “getting your mind right”, on campus you still need to be sure that you can produce as you are expected to. Solutions that don’t consider this may point to your need to remove yourself from the school environment altogether and take a semester off or something of that nature. But that’s a whole other beast. It’s the small things you consistently do that will allow you to be your best while on campus. When we ignore them, they pile up and become a monster that we can’t conquer on our own strengths. Before you go back to school this Summer/Fall, consider how you will be sure to keep your self-care first.
What tips would you add?