How to have a fantastic first (and every) year of college

The transition from high school to college and young adulthood is exciting, but it can be a challenge as individuals wrestle with new freedoms and search for identities in new settings.

In June, The Harris Poll found that nearly 60 percent of college students said they were diagnosed with a mental health condition, and 48 percent of students reported that their mental health had worsened over the past several years. These add to a decade of research documenting increasing numbers of college students who are struggling with mental illness.

“College can be fun, but it may be difficult at times because it is a new stage in life,” said Rosecrance Regional President Carlene Cardosi, M.S.W., LCSW. “That is why it is so important for students to be proactive developing a toolkit of healthy supports even before they arrive on campus. If they do that, the college years will be much more fulfilling.”

To reduce early-semester stress, Rosecrance experts encourage students to familiarize themselves with academic support and counseling services on campus, as well as community resources, before school starts. Once on campus, students should build a trusted support network of peers by joining interest groups. And, students should establish healthy self-care habits to ensure that they in the best mental and physical condition to handle stress.

Rosecrance offers a full continuum of care for mental health and substance use treatment, including the Launch to Life program at Rosecrance Lakeview in Chicago and college-focused programming at Connections Counseling in Madison, Wisconsin. Young adults also are encouraged to contact Rosecrance’s Chicagoland and Quad Cities outpatient centers.

If you or a loved one have questions about treatment, or think you may need help, caring Access counselors are available at 866.330.8729.