Opinion: What student life is like for me – A mental health perspective


Illustration by Naomi Ruiz.

Naomi Ruiz, Reporter

I have been attending California State University, Northridge since August 2021. Transferring from Santa Monica College was a long time coming, but I finally got to attend my dream school. That is when my anxiety and stress started to gradually worsen.

My student life has been such a long rollercoaster ride and I have spent the last six years prioritizing my education. The biggest challenge with me trying to balance my priorities is healthily managing my mental health. I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager.

I always thought I had to go through everything alone despite having a support system. I learned how to cope by expressing myself creatively. I have been writing poetry on and off for almost a decade, but I recently picked it up again in February. I haven’t stopped writing lately and it is gradually helping me heal by letting me express my feelings.

I have repressed feelings from traumatic events that I cannot even begin to explain. The way I managed my mental health in the past has been colliding with how I manage it now, especially with how I perform in school.

I am taking six courses, but have missed several classes throughout the semester due to juggling countless assignments and a three-month internship.

There are many current instances where I remember struggling with my mental health. I almost fainted during jazz choir practice, I cried more times than I can count because of my anxiety and I have intrusive thoughts every single day. It has not affected my grades as much as it probably should have but it has affected my mood swings.

Taking antidepressants has helped me manage those mood swings. My doctor increased my medication after hearing about all of my stress-induced incidents. It is a work in progress for me to consistently keep up with my medication each night as well as take time to mentally take care of myself.

On the bright side, I am learning to heal through healthy, calm self-care methods such as journaling, drawing, writing poetry and to-do lists, and listening to music. It helps me mentally reset in between my schedule, even during times when my anxiety is uncontrollably affecting me.

The journey of life does not stop here and the journey of my student life has yet to come to a close. I have to do what I can to keep my head above water with the little time I have left at CSUN.

Other students at CSUN may not feel like there are ways to cope with the stressors of their student lives, but there are various things that students can try. It is all about learning to manage their mental health and daily school schedules at the same time the best they can.