Adjusting to Depression and Anxiety to Find Success in College
Most of us feel anxious or depressed at times, especially during times of significant life change like starting college. Given the number of stressors college introduces—especially within the first semester—it is not surprising that many students experience anxiety and depression.
New college students are called upon to make a huge number of adjustments. Learning to cope with new freedom, a new culture, new ways of thinking and seeing, a new roommate…is understandably difficult. These stressors feed mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and SAD just as the mood disorders exacerbate the impact of the stressors creating a cycle that can be hard to break.
That’s why early success is so important. Stop the cycle before it even starts. By encouraging the development of new routines right from the very first few weeks of Freshman Year, Focus Collegiate helps students create the foundation for repeatable success. Success builds upon itself bolstering self-confidence.
The new cycle looks like this:
- Define what success looks like to you
- Set goals based on your own definition
- Find inspiration and accountability – from peers, counselors, affinity groups, and your Focus Collegiate College Life Coordinator and Student Skills Coach
- Create a routine that supports your goals
- Check in often
- Reassess as necessary to keep your successful momentum
Managing anxiety and depression in college is not easy, but adjusting is possible. With the right amount of structure and support—which varies person to person no matter their diagnosis—our students find the flexibility they need to build their own capacity for resilience and self-advocacy.
Focus Collegiate founder, Grant Leibersberger describes the process:
“Unfortunately there is no ‘cure’ for anxiety but finding success in first semester ameliorates mental health risk. I try to communicate that the cost of putting a young person back together again as the result of a failure is much more consuming than having the right supports in place…And frankly I’ve spent twenty years putting kids back together again after a failure in college. This way is more efficient, less painful. We create the conditions for success by helping students not get behind and by creating better habits and routines that ultimately make self-advocacy second nature…
“Students get more joy out of their college experience. Which is, after all, what it’s all about.”