Being in a new place can be exciting, but it can also be and intimidating, lonely experience. It can take a while, three months or more, for a new place to start to feel like home. Until that happens, and depending on your own personality and chemical make-up, you might experience depression.

You can think of depression as a persistent negative mental state, which does not go away. You might feel inexplicably sad, lonely, or listless. Your appetite may decrease or increase, and you might find it difficult to sleep. Your motivation to do things you once enjoyed could decrease, to the point where you become socially and mentally isolated.

This is not a happy place. Luckily, your College will have free or low-cost health services to help you. Though you might not feel like you have the energy to look these services up and make an appointment, it is the right thing to do. So force yourself, and you won’t regret it.

Once you have made an appointment, you might be hit with a feeling of failure, or a feeling that you don’t really need help. You might think about cancelling. Don’t. If you have reached the point where you have made an appointment with a counselor, you do need help. And there is no shame in getting it.

In the meantime, there is a saying, ‘Fake it until you make it’. Force yourself to get out of bed in the morning. Establish and stick to a routine. Exercise. Get involved in clubs or groups that used to interest you.

In other words, do what you would normally do if you weren’t depressed. This can be difficult, but if you do this and you start seeing a counselor to help guide you, your depression should lessen, and you might actually start enjoying all the things you used to take pleasure in.

Going to college should be a happy time. Take steps to make sure it is.

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