Rickey Glasper said he reached a breaking point last winter.
“I had a very bad semester, and my counselor asked me: What happened?” the sophomore electrical engineering student said. “I was on the edge of being expelled. Ever since then, I’ve been working very hard to not end up in that same position.”
With the semester nearing its end, many Wayne State students, like Glasper, begin to feel overwhelmed with term papers, exams and assignments. In the midst of this stress-filled season, many may overlook something that should be prioritized during this time: self-care.
Glasper said he nurtures his mental health through meditation, videogames and time management.
“I used to put something off until the last minute if I know that I can finish it in a reasonable amount of time,” he said. “I can’t do that anymore. Now, I try to give myself enough days to actually do something.”
Glasper, a recovering procrastinator, said he gives himself an extra day or two to revise his assignments before turning them in, which has had a positive impact on his grades. He said if he allows his work to pile up he will “shut down” then enter an extended period of procrastination.
“It’s a lot of mental strain,” Glasper said.
WSU psychology doctoral student Quaneece Calhoun said she felt the toll of balancing academia and neglecting self-care. In addition to being a practicum student at the WSU Counseling and Psychological Services program, Calhoun worked full time while attempting to maintain a 4.0 grade point average. As her grades began to slip, she became more irritable and started to fall behind.
“I just crashed,” Calhoun said. “It took a while, despite being in the field of psychology, to recognize that I need to take care of myself.”
Afrah Arif, one of the co-presidents of self-care-focused student organization Treat Yo’ Self, said that students need to find a balance between academics and mental health.
“College itself is such a stressful environment, there’s a lot of pressure in college to succeed at the cost of your wellbeing,” said Arif, a senior biology major. “Paying close attention to one’s mental health is important.”
Justin Roth, a counseling intern at CAPS, said students have to take care of themselves to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
“Everyone does self-care differently,” Roth said. “For me, exercise is a big thing.”
According to a New York Times articleon the benefits of exercising, people who work out once a week or for as little as 10 minutes a day tend to be more cheerful than those who never exercise.
Along with exercising, Roth said taking time to reflect on his day is “huge,” and staying organized and working efficiently are part of his self-care routine. He said students should aim for six to eight hours of sleep a night, avoid sugary diets and limit time spent on their phones.
Calhoun said the three universal tips to enhance one’s mental health are having quality sleep, eating healthy and exercising.
Students can enroll in the CAPS program for free on the fifth floor of the Student Center in suite 552. CAPS is open on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.