Mental Wellbeing at Penn

Posted by Aimée Perera, '19 on December 7, 2018

Grad school offers many exciting experiences and opportunities, but with this, there can also be many pressures and struggles. These struggles come in many forms, whether it is assignments, the uncertainty of the future, or your next rent or tuition payment.

These pressures can often lead to many of us feeling down, alone and struggling with our mental health.  This is why focusing on our mental health is very important. Sometimes it feels hard to prioritize our mental wellness when deadlines and exams are looming. Keeping healthy and looking after our mental health is just as important as our physical health and should definitely be a priority. We do our best when we take care of ourselves!

Mental health affects us all in very different ways and when I was thinking of what to write for this post, I decided that the best option would be to talk to my friends and classmates here at Penn, as well as reflect on my own experiences.  What I learned was that wellness comes in many different forms for different people and it’s important that we find what specifically works best for ourselves. So, I compiled a list of the top 3 tips for looking after your mental wellbeing while being at Grad school.

  1. Seek help - Penn provides so many great facilities for anyone who may be struggling, whether it be through the Weingarten Learning Resources Center, to help with academic achievement, to the Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office which provides anything from group programs for specialized needs, to a listening ear if you ever need to talk to anyone.  
  2. Attend wellness events – Throughout the semester there has been a myriad of events across a variety of campus groups focused solely on wellness, whether it be mindfulness and guided meditation, to massages, to Zumba, and even to pet therapy! These events can be a great way to unwind, meet new people and to learn useful wellness techniques.
  3. Make time for what you love - Although we often feel like we don’t have enough time to do anything except study and work on assignments, it is so important to make time for the people and activities that we love. This can be through anything that makes you feel human again and not just a sleep deprived caffeinated graduate student. For me, this definitely means exploring Philly with my friends or going to social events on campus. When we do what we love, we tend to feel refreshed and ready to restart working at our best.

This list is just a guide and as I said before, wellness is different for everyone. The most important thing is that you are kind to yourself and find the ways and techniques that will best help you. Just remember that you are not alone and that there is support and resources here for you at Penn, should you need it.