Last Updated: August 27, 2021, 9:04 am

OPINION | Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone


DSU students Chandler Robinson, a criminal justice major, from St. George and Ben Stoddard, an exercise science major, from Cottonwood Heights set aside some downtime by enjoying Netflix. Cammie Johnson claims that setting aside downtime can lead to student success. Photo by Brock Doman.

College is without a doubt an experience worth having, but with those experiences comes some rather unexpected turns.

For those of you who are experiencing Dixie State University in all its glory for the very first time this week, hello and welcome fellow Trailblazers. College can be a rather tricky thing to conquer, especially when it is so fresh and new. Upon arrival, I am sure that each and every one of you knew what was going to be expected, such as the long nights, study sessions, and all the other slightly dull, yet still very important aspects of receiving your education; however, one aspect of college that various students seem to face is finding themselves stuck in a depression funk.

According to “Making the leap from high school to college is a big deal, no matter how far from home a soon-to-be freshman is headed. But the positive (yet often hectic) milestone can shake a student’s well-being, with unintended effects such as depression.”

I myself have had my fair share of struggles when it comes to this topic, just as I am certain that numerous of your fellow upperclassmen have as well. Now I am not saying this to startle anyone by any means, but it definitely is something to be aware of when coming into this new stage in your life. Luckily, as I have been through a few semesters of college, I have found a few tips and tricks in order to help myself stay afloat when those college blues seem to be seeping in, and I hope that all of you are able to find them enlightening as well. 

The first task that you need to do to ensure your success is to set aside downtime. I know, I know, how cliché of me to suggest this to all of you as if you didn’t already know this; however, even though we all know the basic concept of needing downtime, it doesn’t always mean that we are actually doing so. We all have lives to attend to, people to see, and tasks to accomplish, so setting aside designated downtime seems rather impossible to the masses.

“Creating the space for downtime increases productivity,” said the Harvard Business Review. “Subject to heavy workloads and never-ending to-do lists, it’s easy to put our heads down and charge through tasks, thinking we have no time for days off, free evenings, or weeklong vacations. But driving too hard without breaks can make us less productive and less focused.”

Secondly, I have found that words of affirmation go a long way, especially when classes and the workload that you are carrying start to bring you down. It is important to remember what you are capable of, and reminding yourself of that will aid in your success. As childish as it may seem, speaking to yourself with good intentions will — without a doubt — radiate through in anything that you may be doing. 

According to Clinical Hypnotherapy and Stress Management Cardiff: “Affirmations are powerful, positive statements that aim to direct your conscious and subconscious mind, challenging previously held unhealthy and negative thinking patterns. When they are spoken with conviction, they can alter your thoughts, emotions, beliefs and behaviour. When used intentionally to create change, they can help project you into your achievements.”

Not only does this technique help in keeping your thoughts on a far more positive track, but it also helps to keep you motivated and stay on top of your daily responsibilities. And that my friends, will be a key component in the success of your college years.

Last, but certainly not least, the final tip that I will share with you to ensure the safety of your mental health, all while facing this education roller coaster, is to try something new every day. Whether you find yourself doing something small like trying a new restaurant here in town or perhaps something big like putting yourself out there and making new friends here on campus, it will make a world of difference when it comes to your mental wellbeing.

The Sage Gardenuity blog said, “Every single time you put yourself in a new situation, you force your brain to quickly understand a unique set of circumstances, process how to handle those circumstances, and develop a new set of skills. In other words, you’re training your brain to creatively solve every time you try something new.”

The benefits are endless when you are open to trying new things, and the memories that you will be creating during these times will be the ones worth remembering when you look back at this time in your life.

While I might not be a doctor, and I by no means have the credentials to tell another what will and will not work when it comes to bettering their mental health, I do; however, have first-hand experience. The tips I have mentioned have done so much for me on my college journey, and I hope that all of you are able to take something away from this as well.

With this being said, I hope you all are more willing to get out of your comfort zone and try something new today, and may we all make this one of the greatest semesters yet.