Students should place an emphasis on mental wellbeing


CW/ Shelby West

Sarah Cosner, Contributing Columnist

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Aug. 17, 2022 to reflect more accurate information regarding the UA Counseling Center. 

The thought of moving to college and having greater independence is exciting for students entering college. As the countdown to move-in begins, many students cannot wait to arrive on campus and begin their life in Tuscaloosa. This transition to college is also considered a transition into adulthood, as this newfound freedom can welcome maturity.

However, mid-August approaches quickly and classes for the fall begin soon. The excitement of moving to college wears off as coursework becomes more stressful. Unlike high school courses, college professors are not lenient on deadlines and the course curriculum is much more challenging. The freedoms of being a college student do not seem as appealing as they did before.

Academic challenges are coupled with the financial stress of college, as the high cost of education is often a burden on students and their families. The Trellis Company, a non-profit organization offering student loan assistance, reports that 70 percent of college students fear that they will not be able to afford their education.

While it may be difficult to talk to others about mental health, seeking help is important to have a healthy and successful college career. Ignoring signs of high stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can result in poor academic performance and an unhealthy lifestyle. There are several easy ways to combat mental barriers that new college students will experience during their first year. 


For many students, college is the furthest they have lived away from home. While finding independence is exciting, it also means that one must be prepared to advocate for themselves and deal with more challenging situations alone. Living away from close friends and family can also create feelings of loneliness in a new environment.

It is important to recognize that homesickness is common. About 58 percent of students at The University of Alabama are out-of-state students, with many traveling across the globe to call Tuscaloosa their home. Just as one may be worried about making new friends on campus, most of the general student population feels the same way. 

These feelings of homesickness can be the strongest during the first few weeks of the fall semester. College is an adjustment, and it will take time to establish a routine that makes these feelings go away. With hundreds of student organizations on campus, getting involved in extracurricular activities is a great way to establish a community at the University.

Do not be afraid to reach out to others and make connections early on. The University of Alabama hosts many events throughout the year that are designed to encourage positive relations between students. The Weeks of Welcome program is designed to help students meet new people and establish a support system before the academic year even begins. 

Staying involved in campus organizations and activities can help new college students find a smaller community within UA’s large campus. The University hosts Get on Board Day at the beginning of each semester to highlight on-campus student organizations that students can join. These organizations provide many opportunities to meet peers and create friendships that will last throughout college years and beyond. 

If feelings of homesickness continue to persist, the University’s Counseling Center provides a variety of resources to make students feel more comfortable on campus. Finding friends and a new community on campus may seem difficult at first, but it creates a support system to last throughout the years in college. 


It seems typical for many college students to stay up all night and cram for an exam the next morning. A study by Piers Steel, a professor of motivation and procrastination at the University of Calgary, finds between 80% and 95% college students procrastinating on their schoolwork. Procrastination is the result of poor time-management skills, as many students do not know how to create a school schedule and consistently follow it.

When a student does not give themselves enough time for schoolwork, their grades will suffer. This procrastination can lead to more serious effects, such as increased stress, anxiety and depression. These conditions make it harder to be successful in both an academic setting and everyday life. 

Having the freedom to create your own schedule does not automatically guarantee that it will be an effective plan for the school year. Schedules should prioritize both academic and personal goals that will motivate success. The UA Counseling Center provides several tips for creating a schedule, which includes defining goals, setting priorities and keeping a weekly log of how one spends their time.

Making a schedule is only half the battle that a student must face when it comes to managing their time. It is also necessary to consistently follow schedules for them to be effective. It is important to be assertive and reiterate academic goals. They shouldn’t be afraid to say no to activities and events that may greatly disrupt their schedule.

While making a schedule, incorporate extra time to take a break from any work. Without time to relax, many students will experience burnout and lose the motivation to achieve their goals. A healthy work-life balance can be achieved through allotting time for meditation or de-stressing at some point during each day.

Developing time management skills takes consistency, but these lessons prove valuable far beyond college. While these techniques are effective for many students, time-management may not be an easy task for some students. The University’s Counseling Center offers individual appointments to discuss time-management and tailor a plan that is individual to each student.

Growing Independently

While these issues are common among first-year college students, many individuals do not take action to solve these problems. It is important for students to focus on their well-being throughout their time in college, as it should be an exciting experience. 

Working to solve these mental roadblocks early can help prevent other issues from developing later on in college. Students should remain aware of their feelings and work to recognize any issues that they may have in either their academic or social lives.

Regardless of the issue, it is never the wrong time to reach out for help. The University’s Counseling Center is a great resource for any students facing issues. Students can reach out to the center by phone to schedule appointments or consult with staff. The center also offers crisis intervention services, where students in crisis can contact UAPD and ask to speak to the on-call counselor.

Being independent is a frightening change for many students. Using these techniques and resources is a great way to reduce the fears that may come with finding a new home at The University of Alabama.