Name: Teagan Pringle
School: University of Prince Edward Island
Year: 4th Year
Major: Double Major: Psychology & Sociology
Fav thing about your campus: The confederation trail located right on the backside of the campus is one of my favourite places to go for a walk. I constantly take walks their to clear my head, even if it’s just fifteen minutes between classes.
I also love the people on my campus, and how small our university is as a whole. Typically on a walk across campus you’ll see about ten people you have to say hello to. I love how it feels like a close knit community.
Dream Job: I love working with people of all ages, and learning their stories. As a psychology major I love seeing what makes people tick and what makes them, well, them. Ideally, I would honestly like to be a full time volunteer! Helping different groups and organizations that benefit the rights and needs of individuals.
What is your connection to mental illness?
My personal connection with mental illness is a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder with hints of anxiety as well. Although many of my symptoms started at a younger age, the official diagnosis was only given to me in January 2016. Through multiple appointments, trying multiple types of medications, the odd panic attack and even a hospital stay, the last year has been quite the ride. However, I am constantly trying to better myself as I travel the road to creating a positive lifestyle that encompasses the needs of my personal well-being as I learn to cope with depression.
How do you deal with stress from school?
Dealing with the stress and constant stressors in a university setting can be extremely challenging. One of the biggest ways that I help handle my stress from school is using a day planner. I always have multiple appointments, meetings and assignments to get done. For me, it is important that I write everything down so I don’t forget something that I need to do that day, as that only adds stress.
With my mental illness weighing down so heavily on me this year I have also taken up journaling and allowing myself time to write out my emotions, feelings and anything else that pops into my head. Self-reflection and writing out my stressors has also been very beneficial for me. It is a great reminder of the good, and non-stressful aspects of life.
I also deal with the stress at university by making sure I give time to myself to step back, especially if I feel overwhelmed or stressed. Some of my favourite activities include reading a novel that has absolutely nothing to do with university (terrible romantic comedies are my favourite!), allowing time to participate in yoga (it’s great for the body, mind, and soul!), and lastly walking a dog! Unfortunately not all universities have puppy rooms, so I have to create a makeshift situation and to do so I “borrow” dogs to walk! Family friends and even coworkers are always supportive and they know how much it benefits me!
I am also a student athlete at UPEI, as I play for the women’s hockey team. This group of girls is so much more than simply just “teammates” to me, having hockey and a group of girls that I consider sisters on campus helps deal with the stress more than anything.
What does your campus do to help students' mental health?
UPEI has so many great ways that help support mental health! There are many counselling services available and multiple resources for students to access on the UPEI website. One of the other great things that my university does is host an entire week dedicated to mental health on campus. During the selected week in March, there are activities hosted everyday to benefit and help with students mental health. Being able to jump in a mini ball pit at campus is pretty cool, and super stress relieving! This week not only provides mental health benefiting activities but also great resources and talks with information around mental health.
UPEI also provides lots of food on campus throughout the school year, with things like Soup for the Soul, chilli lunches during exam season, society potlucks, and free breakfasts. Food is a great stress reliever, and UPEI certainly takes the cake in that category!
Do you have any school year self care tips to share with other students?
As much as we make school a priority in our lives, and dedicate every waking minute to our studies, you cannot forget to put your health first. You can’t be the student you really want to be unless you’re healthy enough to do so. Never be ashamed for committing to self care. Self reflection and self awareness are very important parts of trying to be your best self - both in and out of the classroom. How we should treat ourselves is similar to how we treat others; you should be able to fall in love at first sight every time you look in the mirror. I personally like to create goals for my week, even if it is simply “attend all classes”, or “don’t cancel any appointments”, and I will even send them to my mom. Being able to be held accountable to certain things you wish to accomplish that week can make them that much more meaningful to you. Allow you to put yourself first.