Being a Friend to Yourself and Others

Kean students go over their self-care routines and what they can do to help others.

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Being a Friend to Yourself and Others
Positive affirmations left on the Miron Student Center Patio by students
Jean Gardere

When thinking of the college experience several words may come to mind; stress being one of them. Students experience stress for a variety of reasons including increased workloads, lack of time, and high family expectations. In trying to manage all that comes with college, many often neglect to partake in self-care.

“I think [self-care] is extremely important,” said Pre-Law Freshman Jessica Longobardi. “As a college student, you have a lot of stress on you because you’re continuing your schooling…so I think it’s important to take care of yourself."

Longobardi practices self-care by “getting her steps in,” an example is taking the stairs over elevators whenever she can. She also sleeps as much as possible, believing that “sleep is extremely important." By following routines, Longobardi has noticed improvements within herself.

“Self-care really does go a long way….it’s so cliche' [that] it’s tacky, but when you really put yourself in a position to take care of yourself, you start to see a lot of benefits,” said Longobardi.

Nicole Bencosme, a freshman studying computer-science, also believes that self-care is important for college students. Bencosme practices self-care by exercising, reading, spending time with family, and “being connected with God” through prayer. 

“It’s good to prioritize your mental health," said Bencosme. "You definitely should be keeping up with your grades, but also taking the spare time to find an activity [or] hobby and focusing on that to distract your mind a bit.” 

While students do proritze self-care, they have also shared the importance of looking out for other people. Many discussed the ways they've helped those who are struggling with their own mental health.

“I have many people in my life who are suicidal and I have dealt with people who have committed suicide, sadly,” said Megan McCrea, a junior studying graphic design. McCrea believes that “having real-life discussions [and] asking people if they’re okay and really meaning it” are great ways to help those around us.

Like McCrea, Bryan Campos, a senior majoring in exercise science, has felt the effects of suicide, recently losing one of his own good friends.

“One of the only things that came to my mind was, I was there for him, but I never thought I had to reach out," Campos said, reflecting on the loss. “I guess reaching out can definitely save someone’s life eventually.”

Since then, Campos reaches out to those in need of a friend. He manages an Instagram account to help people who need to vent about their frustrations. In this way, Campos is helping others while also honoring the memory of his friend. 

It is important to prioritize self-care when times are difficult. It is also vital to check on everyone around you, from friends to strangers.

Take care of yourself, Cougars!