We're All In This Together: Support Systems by Stefanie Martin



As a graduating Arts student, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that I don’t have to go through the university experience alone. Especially during November and March, the brutal weeks of essays, assignments, and presentations due week after week. These months seem like they would never end then next thing we know, exams are already next week! 

Everyone has a different style of studying and coping methods for stress and anxiety but it doesn’t mean you have to carry the weight of the world all by yourself. Having a positive and encouraging support system can make all the difference in how we approach stressful times which can result in a better functioning self who can get the marks needed and wanted. After all, academics itself is what is making us 99% stressed along with other life issues, right? When we think and believe that we can do it all, sometimes that is denying that we need help. Asking for help is not easy and in fact, is scary and nerve-wracking but it is something we shouldn’t be ashamed of. There are people who are willing to help, be there for you, make life less heavy. Sometimes you just have to ask and let others help you. While self-care is absolutely important, remember that people who love you also want to take care of you. It isn’t mutually exclusive.

This school year has been the busiest and most exhausting year for me. Like many students, I commute, I work, I’m involved with a student group but add the pressure of graduating and getting the best marks possible, stress and anxiety keeps increasing! But when life gets tough and all I want to do is give up, I realize that is the time when I need to reach out to someone. I acknowledge the times when I start to distance myself and think I can do it all when the truth is, I can’t. Once I accept this, I reach out to people I feel would understand and empathize with my struggles. People who are going through or are in similar situations. It’s not about being needy, it’s about knowing your limits and swallowing your pride to realize that maybe I can do better or feel better when I have the support and care I need.

When you’re about to graduate, trying to do well in the present to be able to have a better future is definitely a challenge. Questions and lectures on what to do after graduation, grad school, employment add on to that stress. Especially as an Arts student, THE question (our favourite one!) “What are you going to do your Arts degree?” is brought up all the time and we’re tired of it. University has created a competitive environment that we forget or ignore how powerful and healing being in a community is. I want to remind you that you’re not alone no matter what you think. Someone, may it be a friend, a mentor, an acquaintance, is willing to listen and help. Surround yourself with people who build you up and cheer you on rather than compete with your struggles and tear you and others down.

I myself have been grateful to be surrounded with a positive support system who encourages me to keep going and to never give up. It has been a blessing to be around incredibly kind, funny, and dedicated women that I find the energy we create so extraordinary. As we have a few weeks left to do our best, keep in mind the power of a having a good support system. Set up study dates, catch up with friends, send good luck and supportive messages and snaps, etc. Let the people you care about especially if they are also students that you’re there for them, that you are in this journey together. Take care of yourself and take care of each other. We’re all in this together!

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