Being a student isn’t always as easy as it seems. It’s an everyday hustle, a battlefield, wherein one has to swim through a bevy of hurdles like academic pressure, people’s expectations, and so much more. It’s a daily struggle to thrive, to prove something, to someone, as well as oneself, something that can be quite overwhelming if not dealt with, the right way. Read on to know some of the most common mental health challenges students face and how to cope with them—
The kind of company you keep matters a lot when you’re a student. Quite often, we end up doing things we don’t want to do just because ‘others are doing it.’ The urge to ‘fit in’ is so strong that we tend to forget our individuality in the process. Being the ‘odd one out’ is a no-go zone that petrifies people and when you’re a student, the intensity is exponentially higher. From your academic performance to fashion choices, your opinion towards sex, alcohol, as well as your goals—peer pressure has a strong influence on all of it.
To do: The majority isn’t always right—etch this into your system. Try to benefit from the positives of peer pressure, wherein you strive to improve your academic performance, share creative ideas, and bring out the best in each other instead of laying down a superficial war ground to test your worst sides, where eventually nobody benefits.
Due to the endless exposure to digital media and the entertainment industry, of late almost everyone seems to be obsessed with the ‘perfect body type.’ With peer pressure reeling in, body shaming has become a grave concern among students these days. So strong is the urge to be a ‘size zero’ or have those ‘six-pack abs’ that many students end up starving themselves and even develop some eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
To do: There’s no ‘perfect body type.’ Being ‘fit and healthy’ is the key. The sooner people understand this, the easier it will be for them to stop stressing over fitting in that ‘XS sized dress’ or ‘flexing those muscles.’
Peer pressure wasn’t all students have to deal with something bigger than that, and that’s parental expectations. This is all the more common in India, wherein almost every student would hear at least once in their life from their mom or dad—”Sharma Ji’s son scored 95%, why can’t you do the same?”
To do: Parents must understand that no two kids can be the same. It’s important to motivate your child always but not at the cost of comparing them with someone else time and again. Doing so will only bring the kid’s self-esteem down and not do any good!
Social media addiction
Social media claims to be all about ‘connecting people,’ the reality is that it has made us all more distant than we can imagine. For students, social media has increased their screen time multifold, making them captives of the digital world, forgetting what it’s like to do physical activities like running, cycling, or playing some real sports. On the other hand, they stress over social media validation for everything, and their Instagram pictures, unfortunately, end up deciding their mood for the day!
To do: What appears on social media is never 100% reality. The reason it’s called ‘highlight reels’ is because it is REELS and not fully REAL. So, ditch the social media platforms as much as you can and enjoy real-life stuff. Compliment someone in real instead of leaving just a ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on their display picture on Facebook. Spend more time with friends and family, because that’s worthwhile.
Worrying about grades to peer pressure, parental pressure—all of it can take a toll on a student’s mind, often making them prone to developing anxiety. Anxiety is one of the main reasons why young students get early exposure to substance abuse that meddles with their health, social, as well as personal life.
To do: Take one day at a time. It is okay to feel afraid and confused, it’s all a part of being human. But never let any of this push you to the point where your mind becomes foggy. Always talk to your close ones, be it family, friends, or a professional. Acting on adrenaline harbors no good, so you must take it slow.
Life is about learning, creating, and exploring your abilities. Never let it become a hub of conflicting ideas that can be detrimental to your present or future.