Student mental-health is suffering. Mental health is being recognized as a key area of concern for young people, including on college campuses. Alarmingly, half of college students identify mental struggles as one of their top stressors. The pressure has led 40% of undergraduates to consider dropping out. Administrators must find ways to support students holistically.

College is a foundation time, not only of acquiring knowledge, but also of establishing habits that will last for a lifetime. In addition to conveying concepts and competencies, we also have an unparalleled opportunity to shape the character and patterns of students. One of the gifts we can give young adults is to model the traits they will need to thrive throughout their lives and careers.

There is one essential characteristic students need to see you practicing: knowing your role. This trait is often phrased negatively as “practicing saying no.” However, that is an incomplete picture. When you accurately understand your role in an organization, you know what things are your responsibilities and what aren’t. A clear picture of your role enables you to say an enthusiastic “yes!” to the things within your scope that support your organization. It also frees you to say a clear and cheerful, “no thank you,” when things fall outside of what is appropriate for your scope.

Burnout is often preceded by the erroneous idea that everything rests on you. When you understand that you are one integral part of a dynamic system you can support others without overextending yourself. Knowing your role frees you to depend on others and ask for help when you need it. In the end, it fuels you to achieve more because you devote your energy to the things you should, rather than getting distracted by tasks outside your purview.

What traits do you seek to model for your students? Share your insights with us on social media and tune in for our next installment on the blog soon.