Another school year is about to begin and it’s time to mentally prepare for the stress that is to come. Taking care of your mental health is one of the most important things to do as a student. The student experience is not the same for any one of us, and some require more preparation than others. Setting aside time to get lost in ones’ creative hobbies is a must for many. It is not always easy to set aside the time for nurturing ones’ soul with fulfilling activities, so it is recommended to find a way to incorporate it into a pre-semester trip. One fantastic idea is to take a photography road trip with a friend while exploring new countries, or your own, and document a new landscape or culture. Getting lost in nature is a perfect way to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself. The open road brings you to new experiences that can help you forget about all of the responsibilities back home. Anything that brings you joy and brings peace into your life is worth investing your time into, in order to be equipped with the tools to better deal with the onslaught of assignments and deadlines for the year.
Personally, I embarked on a road trip to explore the deserts of the United States. My friend and I journeyed through the harsh landscape of Death Valley, which was 46 degrees every day. After a few days there we moved on to Joshua Tree National park.
The next leg of the journey was a long one, so we stopped part of the way in the Sonoran desert in Arizona. After a night of rest, we continued the 6-hour journey to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico! I set aside two weeks to hit the open road armed with nothing but good company, my camera gear, and clothes to last me the duration of my trip.
Documenting the world's landscapes and being able to reconnect with nature instantly calms me down. My anxiety levels dropped, and my depression was manageable. I had just come off a full summer semester, working full time to support myself, and had only a couple of weeks before the fall semester started. The thought of getting back at it after so little time off made me feel burnt out, and I felt indeed defeated about the start of the new year, a time where I should be excited and ready to push forward with my future goals. As I write this, a week and a half into my trip, I am mentally refreshed and feel more at ease to start my final year of my undergrad! Mental health is a real struggle for many during the school year, and it is important to remember that you are not alone and that your passions are worth your time, even when it seems hard to make the time for them.
Whether it’s a trip before school starts, during winter break, or also finding a way to nourish your mind while remaining on campus we all need to participate in the creative outlets that give us the tools to maintain our mental health. Good luck everyone in the upcoming year!