College life might look glamorous through an Instagram filter, but a new awareness campaign at Drexel University is aiming to remind students that all undergraduates struggle at one time or another.
Paul Furtaw, PsyD, associate director of counseling at Drexel, spearheaded the “Adulting is Hard” campaign to help boost students’ resilience and mental well-being. He said pressure from social media, the high cost of education and parental expectations can lead to stress and make students feel like failure is never an option.
“On social media everyone is putting their best face forward, and it can make young adults avoid talking about their problems for fear of burdening their friends,” Furtaw said.
Furtaw worked with Drexel graphic design students and a public health intern from Temple University to develop four messages surrounding the campaign, now posted in locations throughout Drexel’s three campuses:
- Some Things Are Beyond Our Control
- It’s Okay to Fail
- Find Your Meaning and Purpose
- Cultivate Meaningful Relationships
“No one changes their life over a poster, but the goal is to get students to stop and think,” Furtaw said. “The campaign’s messages are meant to counter thoughts such as, ‘I’m suffering, but I have no agency or ability to do anything about this.’”
The messaging is part of a growing trend on college campuses that equip students with the “coping skills” to fail, according to a recent New York Times story.
Drexel’s “Adulting is Hard” campaign, which Furtaw said he hopes to expand through social media and email blasts, will hopefully teach students that messing up and growing up often go hand in hand.
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