Mental Health In “Work Forest”

You just unpacked your stuff, you still find the food at the Pit delicious with a wide range of options and you simply cannot stop looking at the gorgeous sunset fitting perfectly with the Georgian architecture of the Reynolda Campus.

You are probably not thinking much about all the mental stress and what kind of challenges you might face as a first-year student at Wake Forest, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on how to handle the “Work Forest” experience.

First, you have to know that the “Work Forest” standard is a real thing. Professors want to challenge you and push you to your best, even though that might not lead to the “A” grade you might have been accustomed to in high school.

At some point in your college life, you will find yourself clueless or perhaps overwhelmed with a class or an assignment. We have all been there — even though it might feel like you are the only one struggling, always keep in mind that your fellow first-year students and even upperclassmen have been as clueless and as lost as you are.

If you feel like you do not belong or you are not up to the task of being a Wake Forest student (the so-called impostor syndrome), rest assured that you do belong here and you will find your group, niche and comfort zone at Wake Forest. Joining a club or attending campus-wide events can do wonders for your mental state. Do not fall for the mistake of burning yourself out studying endlessly for classes. Make sure you are reserving some quality time to do something you like, or even time to do nothing at all if you feel like a break is needed. I usually play a FIFA match with friends or watch bits of a random live game whenever I feel like I cannot stare at my laptop’s screen anymore.

Having a high GPA is definitely important, but so is keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy. That’s why it is also important not to bottle things up and just try to push through the problems you face in college.

Having a support system that you can rely on — be it friends, faculty or the University Counseling Center — can be the difference between feeling hopeless and feeling recharged to tackle a problem. Do not wait until the last minute to seek outside help whenever you feel overwhelmed. Also, talk with your professors; they are more understanding than you might think and will try to work with you to go through whatever challenges you might be having.    

Lastly, always remember that your college life should be about owning your story. This is probably the first time in your life that you do not have your parents, or, as a matter of fact, anyone to tell you what you should do.

You should take the time to try new things out and take some risks as well. It’s ok to be lost and to not have a plan at first.

This should be the time of your life to discover yourself. Borrowing the words from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, don’t panic and enjoy the sunset for a little longer, because everything will be fine.