Name/Insta handle: Kamrin Baker, @kamstagrams
School: University of Nebraska-Omaha
Year: Sophomore (class of 2020)
Major: Journalism + Media Communications
Fav Thing About Your Campus: Meeting new people with such beautiful and unique stories every day. Also the curly fries in the student center.
Dream Job: Staff writer for a publication I love. (Vogue, The New York Times, or something new that pops up one of these days)
What is your connection to mental illness?
I am diagnosed with a severe anxiety and panic disorder and have been medically assisted since sophomore year of high school. I also suffer from seasonal affective disorder during the fall and winter, though it is not as extreme as my anxiety is on a daily basis. Although I still battle with my anxiety every single day, I am so much better at coping with it now than years ago.
In high school, many days began with a Xanax tablet and dry Cheerios just to get up and attend school, not even beginning to confront actually focusing and doing well. After years and years of therapy, medication, coping strategies and healthy relationships, I am finally beginning to get into a groove of taking care of myself. I always hope to shed some light on mental illness and its commonality among people my age, since the stigma behind these disorders is absolutely ridiculous and wrong.
How do you deal with stress from school?
My favorite ways to combat stress from school are all very different. I love to spend time with friends and loved ones who a) give really good hugs and b) are always down to talk about feelings or do something fun like pet puppies, watch new movies, go shopping and more. I also love to do things on my own, because like most introverted people, me-time is the best time. I’ll try my best to practice yoga in my dorm room every night (Thanks, Yoga with Adrienne!), as well as do the typical things like face masks and mani-pedis. Overall, though, time management is the best way to handle stress head-on and in a productive and healthy way.
What does your campus do to help with students' mental health?
My campus has a great counseling and psychological services office, although with the volume of students who are going there for help, they need to limit their free services each semester to a certain amount per each student/patient. We also have various student-led organizations like NAMI on Campus and Beyond Blue to help students feel less alone and advocate for resources all around our school.
Do you have any school year self-care tips to share with other students?
-Always, always, always drink water. Even when you feel like you’ve had enough, keep hydrating. Bring water with you everywhere on campus and be ready for a long day.
-Try your hand at yoga and meditation. I don’t care if it sounds hippy dippy; don’t knock it until you try it. Lots of colleges and universities have campus recreation programs that offer free or cheap yoga classes.
-Learn how to say NO. That word is a complete sentence.
-Carve out time for you each and every day. Whether that’s one episode of Parks + Rec or a two-hour nap, you deserve it.
-Utilize your resources. Contact your counseling services, tutoring services, resident assistant and more, because these people have jobs specifically designed to make you feel safe, at home and happy.
-Talk to people who make you feel happy and whole. If your family doesn’t do that for you, find people who do. Speak with them as much as you can and consistently be a source of light, energy and joy to one another.
-Start a Pinterest board with empowering quotes and graphics. It’s easy and printable for dorm décor. ;)
What are you most looking forward to this semester?
I am so pumped to take on a bunch of different roles this semester. I am a resident assistant, an online reporter for my school’s newspaper, and obviously now a campus representative for Wear Your Label! I get to wear so many different hats, as well as meet such wonderful people filled with stories and ideas and love. The best is yet to come.