Dear Honors: Hug Your Brain to Keep You Sane

It’s the time of year when it feels like everything is falling apart, even though you need to have it together more than ever. We feel that. We truly do. So as you’re wrapping up your final portfolios, presentations, and papers, try to remember that it’s totally okay to relax… until you’re sitting at dinner and realize you have a project due in ten hours.


It’s fine. You’re fine. You got this.

Mental Health // Hug Your Brain Week

Some days, you’re Leslie Knope and you are ready to take on the whole dang world. You’re listening to your favorite song, everything seems to be going your way, and even if it wasn’t, you’ve just got a kick butt, take names kinda attitude right now.


Other days, you’re Michael Scott. It happens to the best of us. Haven’t we all had one of those days? Cheese balls cure all problems don’t they?


Doing all the things can be hard sometimes. College is a balancing act of trying to do well in all of your classes, while also being a leader on campus, having a social life, remembering your grandma’s birthday, trying to not have the diet and exercise routine of a six year old, trying to be the best significant other on the planet, and getting just enough sleep to do it all over again the next day. YAY. And it’s hard sometimes. Lets not sugarcoat it. It’s hard. And that’s okay. You don’t have to be Leslie Knope every single day, you can have your Michael Scott cheese ball days and still be the amazing, successful unicorn of a person that you are.


Now lets talk about some resources available to you during your cheese ball days.

First off, if you’re having a tough time, do remember that you have so many people that are here for you and want to help, such as the University Counseling Service, Student Health and Wellness, and the Crisis Center of Johnson County just to name a few.

If you are experiencing any sort of conflict on campus, we have the Ombudsperson (what a fun word, huh?), and the Student Care and Assistance Team available to help refer you to the resources you need. Not to mention the student organization, Active Minds, that is all about making sure your mental health is a top priority.

new girl

The point is, you are part of our Honors family, we cherish and adore you, and want all the best for you. So use the resources available to you, yes, cheese balls included. So, to show you that, I have asked the Honors professional staff to share their tips on the subject…you’re welcome:

“It took me until my late 20s to realize I have anxiety and the stress I was feeling all the time wasn’t normal. I began seeing a counselor who helped me figure out what was causing my anxiety and how to respond to it. Now that I’m more aware of my mental health I have learned so much more about myself. I have learned that I need alone time to organize my thoughts and de-stress. Without that, handling the world daily gets to be too overwhelming and I begin to physically feel it: fatigue, irritability, lack of motivation, depression, etc. Initially, I felt guilty shutting others out on purpose but as I continued to give myself the time I needed, I learned that I’m not the only who benefits. I become better at everything I do when I feel good. It’s that simple.” —Jess, Honors Program Coordinator


“I was fortunate in college.  I always lived in places where getting outdoors was easy to do.  That became an important part of my college success and mental health.  At some point, I recognized I was able to learn and remember things far better if I made sure to step away from my notes and my books.  To have time to reflect on the material, go through the ideas in my head, and see the connections between concepts was an essential piece of learning well.  Being out for a run or a long walk also gave me time to reflect and relax.  It has very much been my life long way to keep my life in order and enjoy what comes my way.  Moral of the story – stay active and take time to reflect without distractions.” –Bob, Associate Director of the Honors Program and Director of ICRU

“I am an ambivert, which just means that I need equal parts quiet and company to be at my best. When I am feeling brain dead and overwhelmed, I do my best to leave some unscheduled time in my week where I can do whatever I feel like doing in that moment, whether it is productive or not.  I need to let my mind wander beyond my to-do list.  Sometimes this means that I spend an hour pruning the plants in our house or an afternoon rearranging my office, but the point is to let go of the idea of what I “should” do and allow myself room to do what I want to do for a bit.  If I don’t take this time for myself, I get grouchy and resentful, which doesn’t help my productivity and is no fun for anyone in my life.” –Kelly, Scholar Development Director

We are here for you, 110% of the way. Coming up next week is the Hug Your Brain Week campaign that helps to raise awareness about and promote mental health on campus. We will have lots of fun activities available to you and we hope that you will come join us, because we’re together in this whole crazy thing. Also, there will be dogs and popcorn and all the good things in life.


That’s all for now, friends. We can’t wait to see all of your lovely faces at the Hug Your Brain Week events! Till next time.

Your friend and peer advisor,


By: Marina Gibbs

Majors: Human Physiology & Chemistry

Hometown: Chandler, AZ

Edited By: Katie Kiesewetter, Blog Manager

Do you have a question about the honors program that you want answered? We want to hear from you! Email your questions to with “Dear Honors” in the subject line. Questions can remain anonymous if you’d like.





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