College is just plain tough. The classes are demanding, and as graduation day inches closer, the reality of having to go out and begin a career can be daunting. Most students handle the change relatively well, adapting with ease. Still, an alarming amount of students do not handle the pressure so easily. In fact, the University of Michigan Depression Center found that college students are highly susceptible to depression.
There is a lot to cope with when it comes to college. Young adults who are fresh out of high school must suddenly deal with a whole new level of independence and change. Many move away from their homes, families, and friends to begin their college careers in an entirely new and foreign city. Those who stay in their hometowns, and even those who stay in their homes, will find their surroundings rapidly changing as they commute to a new, much larger school and as many of their friends move away for college. All of this change can be traumatic, and to top it all off, college courses and work is difficult. The pressure can get to be too much for some students. Depression tends to strike between the ages of 15 and 19, the latter of which is likely the age of many first year college students. An astonishing 15 percent of college students may be struggling with depression, according to the University of Michigan Depression Center. Students may feel withdrawn, apathetic, and lethargic. Their grades may suffer because they no longer care about their academic performance or because they can no longer concentrate on their work. Social relationships can wither, leaving students in an even deeper funk.
Something that may contribute to depression that students can easily change is to get more sleep. Many students burn the midnight oil in order to study for examinations, complete reading assignments, or for far less productive reasons. The lack of adequate sleep can actually trigger depression because the brain is not well-rested. Students who find themselves chronically tired and somber should try getting more sleep to lift their spirits.
The most important thing for those suffering from depression to realize is that there is help available. Students burdened with depression and depression symptoms should not endeavor to just “get over” the feelings. Instead, they should seek out the counsel and help of the school’s counselors and therapists so that depression will not take over their capabilities to enjoy their life, college years, and academic progress.