Tending to our Thoughts

Emotional and Mental Health Resources

by Carmel Malvar

Every midterm season, I find myself repeating the same, stressful pattern: I put all of my time and energy into preparing for a midterm and consequently, I lag behind in my other classes. By the time my midterm for one class is over, I have to switch to catching up for my other classes and worrying about my tests for those classes. Oftentimes, it’s a never-ending cycle—a by the time I’m done with one thing, another thing comes along and I’m constantly playing catch up. This whole process is exhausting and leaves students feeling extremely stressed, anxious, and disheartened. Talking to my friends about this, I found that this is a problem common for a lot of Berkeley students—or perhaps any college student. Hence, it is extremely important that we talk about our mental and emotional health and that we bring these issues to the forefront of our conversations.

Being at Cal, it’s hard to avoid comparing ourselves to others, especially when we are constantly surrounded by highly motivated individuals. We measure our progress in terms of how many standard deviations we are from the mean. We let internship and job offers validate our self-worth. We fixate on our disappointments until our disappointment turns into despondence and eventually disillusionment. It is important to remember that we should not let external factors determine our intrinsic value. It is equally important to recognize that the stress and dejection that we are feeling is oftentimes not our own isolated problem; others around us might be feeling the same way too.

While recognizing the situation is one thing, attempting to make the situation better is another. Although by no means complete, here are a few free resources at Cal that might help when feeling stressed and overwhelmed:

  1. Counseling at the Tang Center
    • The first five appointments are free (with or without SHIP) and are easy to set up through online or over the phone.
  2. Student-to-Student Peer Counseling
    • Student-to-Student Peer Counseling is a student-run organization wherein volunteer Berkeley students provide free, one-on-one, walk-in and phone-in services to UC Berkeley students. Peer counselors try to create a comfortable atmosphere where students can openly talk about their feelings.
  3. Classes at the RSF
    • Sometimes, de-stressing is just a matter of taking a break from our constant routine of classes and doing something fun such as getting in a good workout! There are a wide variety of free classes from yoga to dance classes to high intensity interval training.
  4. Hiking/ Running Trails around Berkeley
    • Take advantage of the amazing views and enjoyable trails around nearby neighborhoods! Go with a group or by yourself (with caution, of course) and take a moment to remind yourselves of what a great place Berkeley still is, despite sometimes being very stressful! Great hike suggestions include: the Fire trails, the Clark Kerr trails, Indian Rock, and of course—the Big C.