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Prioritizing Mental Health

We're all sick of hearing the phrase "unprecedented times." But how are we dealing with these times while studying at Carleton?

We're all sick of hearing the phrase "unprecedented times." But how are we dealing with these times while studying at Carleton?

Sometimes, you just really, really need a brain break. And that can be difficult as a college student! Carleton has high expectations, so it really can be hard to balance academic responsibilities and take care of your mental health. During a year long pandemic, this is especially important (but difficult). Here are some tips I’ve learned about how to prioritize my mental wellbeing at Carleton.

Reach Out

  • Professors and staff are SO nice! If you’re struggling to keep up with a class, they are more than willing to help you figure out how to cope. Every professor I’ve had here has been very accommodating and understanding (especially because of limitations due to COVID-19). Though it may feel intimidating to reach out to them, know that they absolutely will not think less of you if you’re struggling, and doing so will only improve your Carleton experience.
  • Connect with other support systems on campus. I cannot restate this enough: don’t be afraid to reach out! There’s a lot of support at Carleton, like counselors at SHAC for general mental health needs, disability service‘s staff and peer leaders, TRIO (home for low-income, first-generation, or disabled students), staff and peers from the Gender and Sexuality Center… etc. There’s help for everyone here.

Make little changes in your personal life. Like…

  • Clean up! For me, cleaning is a way to destress (while avoiding homework). It feels refreshing to have a clean space to work, even if it’s just a corner of my room. Even doing something little like dishes or laundry can alleviate some stress.
  • Stock up on comfort foods/items. Cereal, M&Ms, popcorn… perfect low-effort snacks that make me happy. Blankets, fuzzy socks, and good scented lotion are also musts for comfort.
  • Try to get out. Because of the pandemic, I stay in my room for the majority of the day… Which isn’t great for my mental health. I’ve realized that if I go study (or attend my online classes) somewhere else, it makes me feel a lot better. My favorite places to go are the third floor of the LDC, or the 1st Nourse lounge. Sometimes, I’ll aimlessly walk around campus, the arb, or to Weitz and back, just because. This is also nice (as long as the temperature isn’t in the negatives!).
  • My own trick: treating myself like a little kid. You know what would make little-kid-me feel better? Hot chocolate, a Disney movie, and a nap at 3PM. So, why not? Have no shame about letting yourself chill.


Know that you’re not alone! Imposter Syndrome is more common than people’s appearances can make you think: we all feel like we don’t fit in here at some point or another. Mental health is something we’re working to make more open, accessible, and less stigmatized at Carleton, and although we’re not perfect yet, the first step is for individual students to be willing to share their own experiences.

Erin grew up catching salamanders, recklessly climbing trees, and running around barefoot in the Appalachian Mountains in a small town in North Carolina. This is her first year at Carleton, and she’s looking forward to meeting new people, exploring campus (especially the arb!), and experiencing her first Minnesota winter. She is currently interested in studying psychology and gender, women’s, and sexuality studiesMeet the other bloggers!