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 GoodTherapy.org.
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