Name: Nancy Chen
School: Northeastern University
Major: Marketing major / Psychology minor
Fav thing about your campus: It's right in the heart of Boston - love being able to walk around the city, its close proximity to Whole Foods, and its location near the Esplanade for running
Dream Job: novelist and public speaker
What is your connection to mental illness?
I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder last year while struggling with a recurring eating disorder and depression at the same time. While the past couple of years have had some extreme ups and downs, I've found that it's important to me to speak out about my experiences, because you never know who might be struggling with the same thing.
How do you deal with stress from school?
For me, school isn't as stressful as the extracurriculars I do. Northeastern is also unique in that we have the co-op program, meaning that we work a full time 6 month internship during part of the year, during which we don't take classes. While this is great experience, it's a different kind of stress than school-related stress, and also means that any extracurriculars I do (like side jobs and leadership positions), have to fit around a 9-5 (or more often, an 8:30-6) schedule.
So I take the time on weekends to work on my side projects and plan out my week, and get everything together and ready. And while that doesn't necessarily sound relaxing, the fact that I'm preparing myself gives makes me mentally less stressed.
What does your campus do to help students' mental health?
There are resources like the campus's health center, but also some student clubs like Fit University have taken the initiative to put on "Wellness Week" type activities.
Do you have any school year self care tips to share with other students?
Yes! I'd say: don't compare yourself to other people. Not just in the way you might think (looks-wise), but also busyness-wise. It's easy to think or see that other people are doing more than you are, and trying to match them, but truth is, don't push yourself overcapacity. It's okay to go to bed at 8pm if you're feeling it. It's okay to take a mental health day. It's okay to skip a workout. It's okay to take care of yourself - because you're the most important. Like Wear Your Label says, "Self-care isn't selfish."