It’s that dreaded back to school season. We’re almost there—with the exception of you lovable overachievers going year round or on trimesters—the countdown to the fall semester officially has begun. Many students are probably wondering: How am I going to start off strong? How am I going to juggle classes along with my new relationship and a full-time job? How will I find an internship or the job that I love?

Some students are probably feeling intense pressure to succeed and to be some sort of “perfect” (what does that mean anyway?) from professors, parents, and those carefully placed TV PSAs. It’s enough pressure to make a person break into two. To have a successful transition back to school and to stay in one piece, you need to develop resources to live mentally healthy and to repair those metaphorical cracks in the brain when everything around you seems like it’s falling apart and you feel like you might crumble. Here are four tips for back to school:

  1. Know how and where to find your campus resources: One of the biggest keys to success while in college is to know where and how to access resources of help. That could involve hiring a tutor, knowing where the counseling office is located, how to find events on campus, or which campus job is the cushiest.
  2. Developing healthy habits: While emerging from a six-week period of depression and suicidal thinking while I was in college, I realized I needed to develop new tools to dig myself out of the hole I fell into and give myself a fighting chance to keep myself out of that hole forever. I had to develop healthy habits. Some of these habits included getting on a regular sleep schedule, cultivating positive friendships, healthy eating and exercise, creative activities, and finding a  counselor I could talk to.
  3. Reframing failure: By changing the word “failure” to a “lesson learned on the way to success,” your possibilities become nearly limitless, and the pain of failure is temporary.
  4. Creating a support system for yourself: the foundation of any personal success, great or small, is reaching out for temporary support and then long-term sustainable support. Temporary support can be: asking for directions at a gas station, government assistance, a crisis line, a student loan. Sustainable support can involve: reaching out to friends, family, a therapist, and/or mentors. Reaching out for support can feel like a little win, but over a period of time, the support you receive can result in big gains.

For more college mental health resources, you can reach out to Active Minds, and The i’Mpossible Project.

Learn more about Josh Rivedal at