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Self-compassion is key to a successful college transition

Self-compassion is key to a successful college transition

Self-compassion is key to a successful college transition

The key to a successful college transition? Kindness toward yourself.

The Big Picture:

Recent research suggests that feeling self-compassion (or being kind toward yourself) during your transition to college is associated with better mental health during your first year of college.

  • This survey asked 5500 US college students to report their feelings of self-compassion, anxiety, depression, and stressors throughout their first year
  • As you might guess, students who feel chronic stress had worse mental health over their first year
  • Students who were able to be kind toward themselves during their first year had better overall mental health than their peers who had a harder time with self-compassion

Why This Matters to You:

The transition to college can be challenging, but you don’t need to beat yourself up over it. Instead, practice telling yourself that you’re trying your best. Here are some things to try:

  • Ask yourself, what would I say to a friend? Imagine your friend tells you that they’re having a hard time in a difficult class and they feel dumb. What would you say to them? You’d probably tell them that it is a difficult class, and just because they’re having a hard time, it doesn’t mean they’re dumb. You’d help your friend think about the situation in a way that isn’t so hard on themselves. Now, if you notice that you’re saying something similar to yourself, tell yourself something kind.
  • Take a deep breath. If you find that you’re beating yourself up, take a moment to pause those thoughts and focus on your breath. Sometimes giving yourself mental space from your thoughts is helpful. And, remember that you have access to Headspace for free as a NU student!
  • Remind yourself that you deserve to be at NU. If you find that you’re having a hard time, remember that no matter what, you were admitted to this University and that you deserve to be here. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and brings different strengths. NU is full of diversity, and that’s what makes it great.

Remember, if you need a little extra help with being kind toward yourself, that’s ok! You can always reach out to NU’s University Health and Counseling Services.

NU's University Health and Counseling Services

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