5 On-Campus Places to Visit When You're Overwhelmed

by Alex McGuire

Let’s be honest, here: School can really suck sometimes. No, I’m not talking about tailgating, meeting new people and living with your friends for four years in a row. All of that is awesome.

I’m talking about the part about which we try to forget every Saturday and Sunday: the school part. There are few things more miserable in this world than transitioning from the weekend to five days of lectures, papers, lab reports, discussion posts and problem sets, among others.

All of these responsibilities on top of each other are unbearable and suffocating. What’s even more excruciating is how easily we can screw them all up if we don’t handle our stress properly.

Here are some great on-campus resources to utilize in order to keep your head on straight during the dog days of the semester.

The Writing Center

I tutored at the University of Maryland Writing Center during my junior year, but the job didn’t entail tutoring very much at all. Many students would come in, essays or lab reports in hand, and tell me they were completely lost.

I would try starting a discussion about their assignment and problems with it, but I could tell their stress was completely shutting them down. Our sessions would solely consist of us talking about everything that’s overwhelming them, personally and academically.

After meeting many of these students, I eventually realized that the Writing Center is meant to guide students, not just in completing their work, but overcoming it, as well. It’s mainly another place to talk with peers and get something off your chest.

Your tutor will be happy you came in before submitting an assignment you were anxious about. Trust me.

The Famous Outdoor Spot

Oftentimes, our anxiety comes from claustrophobia without us realizing it. We spend hours every day inside four-walled classrooms getting drilled with exorbitant amounts of information. We get the irrational sensation that the walls are closing in on us, when it’s really the theorems and formulas overwhelming our brains.

Follow the obvious solution: Escape from those walls as soon as you’re finished.

Every campus has that one relaxing area outside where everyone goes to unwind. At the University of Maryland, it’s McKeldin Mall, nine acres of soft grassy paradise in the heart of campus. For many other campuses, it’s a quad of some sort where students congregate to study, suntan or just mess around for a little between classes.

It’s astonishing what something as simple as fresh air can do for your nerves.

The Counseling Center

There’s always been a certain stigma surrounding counseling. Most people tend to assume that everyone who seeks counseling is on the verge of a nervous breakdown or some sort of violent behavior.

The truth is, most students who go to the counseling center are just regular people with no one to talk to about how crappy their week was. We may have a ton of great friends, but we, ironically, don’t like to talk to them about our problems. We may have parents one phone call away, but they’ll worry themselves to death the second we tell them something’s wrong.

Counselors are perfect for venting because it’s literally what they’re paid for. Some campus counseling centers also hire students, which makes the experience less intimidating and more relatable.

Remember, they’ve been where you are. That’s why they’re more than happy to help.

Your Favorite Professor’s Office Hours

If you attend a large school like I did, getting to personally know professors can be tough since you’ll be in 100-person lectures during your first few semesters. They gaze into crowds of young faces every day, unsure of who’s who from one minute to the next.

Luckily, class sizes get smaller as you move into the higher echelon of your college career, making it easier for your professors to remember you. These interactive upper-level courses require frequent collaboration with these established educators, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to dazzle them.

Once you get in their good graces, stop by their office every now and then to chat them up and discuss anything that’s bothering you. As with counselors, professors are hired to help you succeed, which means accommodating you inside and outside the classroom.

They’re not all as menacing as you think.

The Rec Center

When we’re overcome with anxiety, our first instinct is to try our hardest to relax. We’ll lie in bed, watch Netflix until our eyes are bloodshot and sleep through the afternoon because we think relaxation is synonymous with laziness.

I know telling you not to watch Netflix is blasphemous, but it’s better to get the blood flowing when you’re racked with stress. Get yourself to the closest recreation facility by any means necessary. Throw on sweats and hit the weights or go with a friend and wander around.

Many of these places have less strenuous activities like ping pong or racquetball, so you don’t have to go there to run five miles. Exercise is a great way to clear your head, which is the only solution to filling it correctly next time.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It