Wellbeing Barrier Busters

Knowing how to navigate and overcome barriers that may interfere with caring for your mind and body, fostering healthy relationships, and clarifying your sense of purpose are key to your wellbeing journey. 

This page was developed in collaboration with MIT students to identify some of the most commonly experienced barriers to caring for your wellbeing in prevalent areas of your life. Working with staff and faculty, we’ve compiled information and resources that can help you break through those barriers and thrive!

“I don’t have time to take care of myself!”

Making time to prioritize your wellbeing can be hard, but Incorporating small practices into your life is an easy and effective way to start. Try one of these exercises to help you build healthy habits and see which ones fit you best.

“MIT is hard and everyone else gets through it without help – getting support would kind of be like cheating the MIT experience. I need to be strong and fix things myself!”

A high percentage of students use services like S3 (over 75% of undergraduate students!), GradSupport, or Student Mental Health and Counseling Services. There is no such thing as the “superhuman” MIT student; we all need help sometimes. Find the help you need, when you need it, on the Get Support page.

“Other people have it way worse than I do; things aren’t bad enough for me to get help!”

As a very wise Wellbeing Ambassador once shared, “It doesn’t have to be a crisis to seek help. You want to catch yourself before you fall.” Setting up a staggered support system can allow you to focus on your own wellbeing and get the help you need to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Reach out to friends, family or loved ones, and support offices on the Get Support page as well to start building your own safety net.

“Anytime I’m not working, I should feel guilty!”

Your mind and body actually need breaks to recharge. It’s extremely important for your wellbeing to take time away from focused tasks. Take a break and listen to music, reconnect with a friend, or try a quick guided meditation. Find a guided meditation practice you like on the DoingWell Mind page.

“At MIT, you have to pick two of the three: grades, sleep, or social life!”

A recent MIT graduate offered some advice, “Don’t be peer pressured into sacrificing sleep. I didn’t and I’m doing great even after graduation; a perfect GPA doesn’t matter.” Making your own wellbeing a priority can benefit you academically, emotionally, physically, and socially. Visit the Get Support page to find resources that can help you find a balance.

“I have way too much on my plate with classes, P-Sets, and everything else to meditate!”

Research shows that an effective mindfulness practice is more about consistency than length of time. A 3-minute guided meditation 3 times a week is way more beneficial than a 1 hour meditation once a week. Call 617-253-CALM (2256) for a guided, 3-minute relaxation meditation. You can also visit the DoingWell Mind page for more mindfulness practices you can try out.

“It’s impossible to get an appointment at Student Mental Health and Counseling Services!”

Student Mental Health and Counseling Services offers same day services and a mental health clinician is available to help with urgent matters 24/7 after hours and on weekends. SMHCS can also assist with easing the scheduling process. Call 617-253-2916 for support.

I don’t want to go to the Mental Health office, it’s not convenient for my schedule!

Student Mental Health and Counseling Services offers in-person and teletherapy appointment options. Call Student Mental Health and Counseling Services at 617-253-2916 and request the appointment type that is most convenient for your scheduling needs.

“Student Mental Health can’t offer me the help I’m looking for!”

Student Mental Health and Counseling Services can help with off-campus referrals for specialized care or specific preferences you may have. They can also help you navigate your behavioral health insurance. Call 617-253-2916 or visit the Off-campus referrals and support page for more information.

“Professors will think less of me/see me as a worse student if I ask for extensions!”

A fellow MIT student found that, “asking for help or extensions actually makes you a stronger, smarter, student. You’re self aware enough to know to seek out support and professors appreciate that.” Visit the Academic Support page for more resources and tips on how to ask for academic assistance. 

“I have concerns related to my lab culture and I feel powerless. I need concrete solutions to better my situation!”

S3 or GradSupport are here to help students develop plans that make sure you’re supported in the way you need in order to thrive academically. Contact S3 or GradSupport to get started now. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at MIT (UROP) also has great advice and resources for students to build and maintain a strong working relationship with mentors to ensure you have a better experience.

“I need to have a summer internship every summer to get a job in my industry!”

Internships aren’t the only way to demonstrate your skills to potential employers! You can do research, travel, volunteer, personal projects, or take the summer off and still find an industry role. Look over the Infinite Careers profiles and the Summer Experience Surveys to learn more about what other MIT students do during their summers and how they find positions after graduating. You can also always reach out to Career Advising and Professional Development to schedule a casual, non-judgemental appointment for more tailored information. 

“Everyone else is taking a lot of units and if I go below a certain number of units, I will lose my financial aid!”

Some students can take two light load semesters during their time at MIT without any impact on their financial aid. S3, GradSupport, and Student Financial Services can work together to help you come up with a plan to navigate your specific financial situation. Schedule an appointment with Student Financial Services, S3, or GradSupport now to start figuring out your own path. 

“Wellness and fitness stuff costs too much money!”

Fitness doesn’t have to cost money. Just going for a walk outdoors is good for your wellbeing. If cost is a barrier the EngineerYourHealthPlus program can offer 100% subsidized wellbeing, fitness, and recreational opportunities for students.

I need to work on my resume, but I don’t know what skills or experience (if any) to include, the right format to use, or where to start! It’s stressing me out!

You’re not alone! It can be tough to build a resume. Whether you’re starting to look for internships, about to graduate and start an industry job search, or looking to change careers, Career Advising and Professional Development (CAPD) can help. Check out resume advice on the CAPD website and consider setting up an appointment with a helpful, nonjudgmental Career Advisor for personalized advice or a resume review.

“I don’t have time to get a healthy meal or go to the grocery store for food!”

Check out these great food resources available to help make accessing food more convenient  and affordable. You can also try these quick and easy recipes using Trader Joe ingredients. Check the MIT grocery shuttle schedule for pick up times and locations to get you there hassle free. 

“I am afraid I will get in trouble if I talk to someone at MIT about my alcohol or other drug use.”

Alcohol and Other Drug Services (AODS) is a private resource — details you share with staff about your use of alcohol, such as underage drinking, binge drinking, or use of other illegal drugs will remain confidential. Reach out to schedule a confidential appointment using this form. MIT’s Good Samaritan Amnesty Policy also encourages students to call for help in cases of alcohol incapacitation, drug overdose, or other substance related medical emergencies. So don’t hesitate to reach out for support.  

“It’s tough to find time to fit in fitness!”

Every little bit helps. Try the recreation on demand classes, sign up for a Physical Education & Wellness class, or participate in Getfit to stay motivated. Don’t fit in fitness, make it fit you!

“There are too many fitness options and I’m not aware of them all, it’s overwhelming!”

It’s best to think about what you enjoy doing, what time you’re able to fit it in, and what your goals are; personal training might be a great place to start. You can always consult with one of the managers over at the Z Center to figure out your best options. 

“The hours of the Z Center and A Center don’t work with my schedule!”

You can work out anytime between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM and if that doesn’t work, check out the Tim the Beaver YouTube channel – full of on demand classes led by MIT Recreation instructors and available anytime.

“I’m gender non-conforming and I’m not comfortable using the binary locker rooms!”

The Z center offers all-gender changing rooms, restrooms, and an individual locker room for more privacy.

“None of my friends prioritize fitness!”

Try organizing a Wellness Your Way one-time class or series for your residence or group of friends. They’ll bring wellbeing to you; designed just for your group. If you want to try a workout that’s outside of your friend group’s comfort zone, try signing up for a group workout class or joining a club connected to an activity, like rock climbing or dancing. Check out Engage@MIT for a list of student organizations at MIT. 

“There is nothing to do on the weekends besides go to parties! I don’t want to drink but how else can I meet people?”

Weekends@MIT promotes weekend, late night social events on campus that happen to be substance-free. Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter featuring upcoming events.

“It’s hard to find friends at MIT!”

MIT students have found that shifting the idea from finding friends to building healthy relationships allowed them to be more successful in bringing people with similar interests together. You can meet someone briefly at an event you both chose to attend and build on that initial connection with a simple text saying, “Hey we met the other day at that event, want to grab lunch?” You can find more tips to help build friendships on the DoingWell Relationships page.

not sure where to turn for help with your barrier?

ask.mit.edu