University of California, Berkeley
Psychology Major, Disability Studies Minor
Fav thing about your campus:
I am humbled by the people I meet here everyday.
Working for Marvel Comics/Entertainment
What is your connection to mental illness?
My primary diagnosis is Major Depressive Disorder, which despite having symptoms of since I was about age 12, I never sought help for until my sophomore year of college. Additionally, this past August, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which was brought on by being sexually assaulted during the fall of my freshman year and being sexually and emotionally abused for a part of my freshman and sophomore years.
How do you deal with stress from school?
Growing up, I always packed my schedule so full of academic and extracurricular responsibilities that I failed to give myself the opportunity to just take time for myself or even sleep enough. Now I've finally gotten to a place where I understand that mental health comes first, and I'm not going to be able to live and do all those things to my full capacity if I am not taking care of myself. I think it's really important to give myself some "me-time" and to do whatever might increase the probability that I will experience happiness. Sometimes that means hanging out with friends, drinking coffee and reading a book, or even playing a silly game on my phone.
What does your campus do to help students' mental health?
UC Berkeley offers counseling and psychological services, and there is no charge to get started, regardless of what kind of health insurance you have. On the more fun side, Berkeley will organize "pet hugs," and they will bring a bunch of dogs onto the main plaza for students cuddle with.
Do you have any school year self care tips to share with other students?
School is important, sure, but when you look back on your college experience years from now, you are not going to remember subpar grade you got in some class. You are going to remember how one time you got lost in playing guitar for a little too long, but you loved every minute of it. You are going to remember spontaneous road trips. You are going to remember the cuddle-and-cry-club sessions you have with your roommate. You are going to remember finding friends who have become your family. I guess my point is that the road to healing may be a long and tumultuous one, but there will be pit stops along the way that will give you the chance to fill yourself up a little bit. Take advantage of it.