Stress heading back to university/college

UBC

Heading back, or starting, university is often an exciting time in a student’s life.

However, after the past 18 months of mostly remote learning, back to school might feel a bit more intimidating than usual for many students. Indeed, as UBC Okanagan’s campus filled up with students earlier this month, staff in UBCO’s Student Wellness Centre made sure they were ready to welcome students. As the red carpet is officially unfurled, the university strives to ensure all students have a safe place to turn for their mental and physical wellbeing.

Roger Wilson, director of UBCO’s Student Wellness Centre, describes some of the services available to students when classes resumed in September.

Why is self-care an important requisite for learning at university?

Our number one priority is student success. And to succeed, they must feel healthy and be in a positive state of mind.

That’s why we have a number of resources available to our students. Whether it’s loneliness, anxiety, an illness where they need to see a clinician or a fitness class, we can help students find the services available.

We encourage all students to develop a balanced plan for their studies—this is really the backbone of self-care. This means all students are encouraged to ensure adequate time for class attendance and time to complete homework, readings and projects, time for regular physical fitness and recreational pursuits, eating regular meals and getting enough sleep, and of course, social time. While living away from home or even living at home and attending university means new expectations and routines, making and meeting friends, long study periods and attending class, it can be very easy to “upset the balance.” This is where students run into difficulties—hence, we want to encourage all students to be proactive and manage their day-to-day life in a healthy, balanced manner.

Any advice to someone feeling anxious about these first few weeks back on campus?

As we have all done during the pandemic, let’s continue to be flexible, and follow the public and university guidelines on managing COVID-19. This is an unusual time and we need to be accepting of the challenges and difficulties, as well as be forgiving of ourselves and others. Reach out for help when you need it, and above all stay calm as we work through this together.