Balancing Mental Health and College Life

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By Krysta Lindaman

Editor Katie Williams

Madison Lindaman is an alumnus of Grand Valley State University where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She is a new student at Wayne State University working towards her Masters in Social Work.

While balancing work, school and a social life, she also had to balance her mental health; she is someone that has been honest and open about struggling with her mental health for years and has had to try many ways to manage it.

Since her Freshman year of college, she has grown in many ways to help herself and to help others get through college successfully while managing her mental health.

KL: Who is someone that has helped you the most when it comes to coping with your mental health?

Lindaman: Someone who has helped me the most when it comes to coping with my mental health is my significant other. Although he does not struggle with mental health the way that I do, he makes every effort to do what he can to help me get through it.

KL: Where have you lived and how have those places affected your mental state?

Lindaman: I lived in a dorm my freshman year of college and an apartment with roommates the next three years. My experience in the dorm was an absolute nightmare towards the end of the year. Being around people constantly and the chaos that comes with being a first-year student definitely got to me. I was increasingly anxious and depressed by the social and academic pressure I was feeling.

KL: What are some experiences where you felt being in school helped conquer your anxiety?Experiences where you felt it was not helpful?

Lindaman: An experience that helped me conquer my anxiety in school was my Social Work cohort. This cohort took all the same classes for two years, so we all got to know each other very well. This made giving speeches and presentations a lot easier, there was not as much pressure.

Experiences that were never helpful were first class “ice breakers.” It is always awkward and usually never helpful in socializing the class.

KL: What are some ways you managed keeping your mental health a priority while also keeping school a priority?

Lindaman: I kept my mental health a priority by seeking out my school therapist when I needed to work through something; this was something that was very hard for me to do, though I have talked to therapists in the past, going through my school was a big step for me.

KL: If you had to give someone advice that may be struggling with their mental health while in college, what would that advice be?

Lindaman: My advice would be to seek out resources around you no matter how hard or uncomfortable it may be. Most colleges have free individual and group counseling.

I would also try to not fall into social pressures, stay true to yourself, and do what makes you happy. Those were the things that got me through my college career. 

Madison has had to overcome a lot of obstacles when it comes to her overall mental health and getting to the point today of this new journey in getting her degree.

It is important for everyone to know that they too can conquer their own obstacles of mental health as long as they are willing to be open and vulnerable, which can be tomorrow for some and years for others, and that is okay. Keep taking care of yourself first.

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