Dealing with depression at college isn’t easy

You’re not the only one who is struggling

Written by Shannon Dargan


Going to college is a special time in someone’s life. It’s the beginning of your future, the beginning of your career. Some say college is a great milestone in a person’s life and to have that opportunity is more than amazing. However, going to college and suffering with depression can sometimes alter those thoughts and may not give you the same feeling about the experience.

Applying for colleges and deciding what course you want to do can be hard. With depression, your self-esteem and self-worth are low, you may not feel the excitement or confidence in choosing the right course. The thoughts run through your mind, ‘Can I do it?’.

After finally deciding what course you want, you start your first day. You’re nervous, as is everyone. You pick out the nicest casual clothes you own, make sure your hair and makeup is perfect and that nothing is out of place. Depending on the person and how they deal with their depression, some might be more excited than others. Me personally, I was terrified.

It takes a while to get your mind out of the secondary school mode and into a higher range of thinking and work. You need to develop a mind-set and/or mentality that will help you cope with deadlines that are set for assignments, for the independent attendance, even the different teaching style. In secondary school you were given work that was due the following day, now you’re doing work on an exercise that can stretch over a few months that needs constant work.

Many student ‘tackle’ assignments differently. Some will do bit by bit over time, some will do it all before the deadline and then those who do it the night or two before it’s due. Dealing with the stress of depression and having all this work on your shoulders starts to pile up. You don’t just have one assignment, you can have up to four or five at one time, causing stress and worry.

One of the hardest things for someone suffering with depression can be their attendance. On the bad days you’ll want to stay in bed and not move or talk to anyone, you’re too tired to face the day, you feel so low. College attendance can be part of your grades depending on what college or course you’re doing. Not every day is a good day and not every day is a bad day. It takes strength to get out of bed on a bad day and get yourself into college.

One of the most important things when attending college and suffering depression is to let your tutor or lecturer know. I promise they are more understanding than you think. If you need time off for a reason to do with your illness, then they will understand or maybe you need extra time on an assignment. They listen and care about you. Maybe see the college counsellor, every college has one and they’re there to help.

College can be a dreadful place when your head is dark but after a little time, it can become fun and you will see a difference with yourself. Surrounding yourself with good and positive people in college is also a good thing to help. There are so many positive, friendly people in my course and they really do make that little bit of a difference.

Keep your head up, only you can get yourself out of bed into college and only you can work on assignments. You’re not alone, there are loads of college students who suffer with depression and you will prob never know.

Our work is supported by