Lots of college prep tips include how to study, take notes, listen to lectures and how to take tests, but success in college and in the work-force afterwards takes more than just being a good student and hard work. In order to be successful, students also have to take care of their mental and physical health. Without well taken care of mental health and a healthy body even the smartest students can have a hard time succeeding.
Mental health effects every part of our lives as humans and our education is no exception.
According to an article published by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, poor mental health can affect students’ energy levels, concentration, dependability and overall mental ability. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center also states that there is a strong correlation between anxiety and depression, lower grade point averages and higher rates of dropping out completely. With lower energy levels students are less likely to show up to class regularly and less likely to focus or participate when they are in class. They are also less likely to have the self-motivation to complete assignments regularly, if at all. This, coupled with their lack of attentiveness in class, leads to low test scores. Doing poorly in classes adds more stress onto students creating a negative loop.
Stress is a normal part of life that helps us grow and stay motivated, but as Dr. Godbout, one of the counselors here, put it, “The earlier we detect growing stress in our lives, the better we can manage it and the more resilient we can be”. It’s important to be aware of your own mental state and to have a handful of ways to deal with any problems that may occur. This could include meditation, talking to friends, working out or talking to a therapist.
The link between mental health and academic performance is strong and easily understood, but an often over looked connection that feeds into both mental health and academic performance is physical wellbeing. Exercising on a regular basis helps brain development, cognitive ability and helps to improve mood. In an article published by Psychology Today, Dr. Sarah Gingell discussed the abundant benefits of exercising on a regular basis including increased hormone levels which supports increases in mood and cognitive ability and increases in blood flow to the brain, providing more oxygen and nutrition to your brain. In the classrooms, this means students will be in better moods which increases productivity, participation in class, and the increase in cognitive ability. Meaning they can focus for longer periods of time and retain more of what they learn. When talking to Assistant Football Coach Lucas Kleinschrodt, he agreed and added that exercising is a fulfilling activity that can also help improve your self-confidence.
“The better you feel about yourself the happier you’ll be,” Kleinschrodt said.
Having something fulfilling in your day even a short work out can make you feel more successful and make you more confident in yourself.
Mental and physical health are two very important parts to the puzzle of academic success. Falling behind on either of these parts of life is just as bad as falling behind in class, but just like falling behind in class, there are resources available on campus to help you succeed. For mental health on campus we have the counseling center in room 104 in the Student Union and all students have 12 free sessions a year. For physical health, we have lots of exercise classes, a full gym and pool in Lund which is free for all students to use. Throughout the year it’s important for students to keep in mind the importance of mental and physical health as well as mid-term and finals. Keeping good self-care habits can help students get the most out of their time and academics here and help them to succeed wherever they go after graduation.