Helping Students Find their Happiness

Throughout popular culture, a common idea is that the college years are among life’s best. The branching out into a new and somehow freer world, without the direct supervision of parents, leads many young people to expect they’re headed for bliss, and conventional wisdom supports their idea with tales about the “good old days” of school. But for a large number of college students, the years between high school graduation and entrance into the working world are anything but “the best.” Many college students find themselves struggling with feelings of sadness, depression, or loneliness, and sometimes these feelings can have a profound impact on academic performance. In an effort to help curb the trend of sad students, a recent study has investigated ways to create a more positive outlook while improving performance.

The study, which was conducted at the University of Missouri and published in the journal Education Psychology Review, has taken a look at which factors are most beneficial for the improvement of mood, interactivity, and schoolwork in general. A review of extant material on the subject has made a strong case for the power of positive connections; having meaningful relationships with teachers, parents, and the school itself are excellent indications for happiness at school and steady progress in academic study.

The researchers have gone on to recommend that schools and teachers encourage more active relationships, and seek effective mediation, such as the use of mental health professionals and school counselors, when problematic relationships are formed. This research bolsters the importance of the role of counselors in schools, who are frequently able to help foster happiness as students go through the rigorous academic process and explore the world around them, assisting in making “the best years” the fruit of fond memory rather than an empty statement.

© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Kaci


    September 20th, 2009 at 10:27 AM

    I remember when I first left for college I was so homesick and that was weird because I had been dying to move away from home yet when I finally did it all I wanted to do was turn around and come back. A few weeks into the semester I finally made some friends who convinced me to stay instead of going home every weekend and once I developed that support system it really did help me out a lot. But it does take a little time especially if you go to a school where no one else from your high school is going, but it ended up being the best thing for me in the world.

  • Troy


    September 21st, 2009 at 2:29 AM

    Hey Kaci welcome to the “never verbalised but universal phenomenon” of leaving home. If you are an average person with a good family who’s done their best that they could for you, it’s definitely not strange to miss them when officially “leaving home”. I do agree that getting the right bunch matters. Its hard to make lasting friendships in college but yet again it could be the start of something very strong. The place you discover yourself and the world.

  • May


    September 21st, 2009 at 2:55 AM

    Young people react differently to the same situations…While some have a smooth transition from graduation to work, others find it very difficult. As said in the study, it must have to do with the mental make-up and health… and having professional help surely works wonders.

  • Olivia


    September 21st, 2009 at 7:30 AM

    One element that is often overlooked by students are the numerous support services available to kids on campus to help them make the transition smoother. When they find the ways to get involved and discover their niche it makes things so much easier for them!

  • rodrin encargues

    rodrin encargues

    September 23rd, 2009 at 7:15 PM

    i have been struggling to finish my college for almost 11 years now. i started an easy-go-lucky style of studying since i am not that of an academically competent student. since kindergarten years, i simply enjoy my classmates company and treat some of them as my bestfriends. until my elementary and highschool days, i had the best of buddies who helped me a lot not to be too pressured academically.
    my entry to college was a lot different from what i’d been used to. i had no highschool friend in the university. i tried to survive by trying to form some group of friends, inviting them to my boarding house, be nice to them and i felt to be successful with them at first. eventually, i had to part ways with them for awhile when i found out that my name is not in their class list, and that i belong to another block which i dont get to know. it was the start of my miserable life. i started almost failing my subjects, stopped schooling, tried to enroll to a short course and then feel lost, tried to enroll again at a university , gained friends, lose friends, depressed, struggling to survive without them, almost have graduated (working on my thesis study) , but never get to accomplish anything, stopped again (blaming others for my misery) , tried finding a job, almost got there but disappointed, got the opportunity to enroll again, depressed, finding it difficult to meet requirements and follow rules, stopped, worked, misinterpreted by an abusive boss and boss’ mother, found another part-time job ,worked ,a suitor arrived, became boyfriend, had the opportunity to study again…
    and here i am now…almost a month away from graduation…but still at the brink of giving up…

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on