Moving Off Campus

As we have been receiving more and more questions from students about moving off campus, we thought we would create a quick overview of a few things to keep in mind when doing so.


  • Figure out who you want to room with: Single, randomized, friends, etc.
    • If you want to move in with friends or someone you know, meet with them and come up with a list of needs:
      • Type
      • Location
      • Price: The general rule of thumb price wise to consider is:
        • Heat-look for gas, NOT electric
        • Water
        • Electricity
        • Internet
        • TV/Cable
        • Plowing
        • Lawn Care
        • Trash
        • Maintenance
      • Lease Date: Almost all leases in the Houghton area are for 1 year and will start anywhere between early May through late summer. Think about the time frame that would work best for all of you.
    • If you are looking for a place by yourself or looking for a single room in a house, you can use the previous notes to an extent.
      • Again, look at the type, location, price, and lease or sublease dates. Figure out how much you can spend per month and still have enough for other spending such as groceries, gas, school, etc. Look at the different options and decide what you will feel most comfortable in (you might not get your first choice, but there will always be other options). Make sure you’re in a good location, if you don’t have a car make sure it’s walking distance or maybe if you do have a car you still don’t want to spend a lot on gas each month.


  • You can begin by looking at the following sources:
    • Houghton Off Campus Housing (HOCH)
    • Undergraduate Student Government (USG)’s website
    • Facebook Marketplace
    • Michigan Tech Marketplace on Facebook
    • Houghton Rental Housing
    • Copper Country Rentals
    • Craigslist


  • As soon as you find a place you are interested in, set up a showing to view it. If you can’t view it (be understanding of COVID-19 precautions), look at the floor plans and pictures of the space. Also, call the landlord or company (or visit their websites) and ask whatever questions you have, such as:
    • Is there laundry on site? Is it shared? Is it free or coin-operated
    • Is the place furnished at all? What will you need to provide of your own?
    • Is there parking on site, if so how many spots? If parking is off site, where is it?
    • Plowing (again-since we live in a snow globe most of the year)
    • How can you pay? By check, cash, online, etc.? When is rent due each month?
    • Is it a joint or individual lease? *Joint lease means everyone is equally responsible for the full amount, individual lease means you are responsible for a separate portion of the overall rental
    • How do you receive/request a lease? Do you need to apply?
    • Are pets allowed? If so are they only ESA/Service animals?


  • When you finally receive the lease to sign, really make sure to read through it thoroughly:
    • You should be given time to read it in full and ask questions before signing-don’t feel pressured into anything.
    • If you have any questions, ask them.
    • A lease is a binding document-once it’s signed by both parties, you are held to completing the terms.
    • DON’T sign more than one lease, DON’T sign something you don’t understand, DON’T sign something you can’t afford
    • Again, don’t feel pressured to sign a lease right away, there will always be things available through the fall semester and into the spring, and even later on into the spring semester

Lastly, pay attention to emails/notifications from your landlord. They should be sending you over information on move-in and move-out, and possibly other helpful information that comes along with renting.

Spotify Playlists for Every Mood

As a lover of music, Spotify has become a daily part of my routine. With the ability to create my own playlists and/or choose the specific songs I want to listen to, I can cater to whatever mood or vibe I’m feeling. Or, if I’m not interested in having to do the work, I can listen playlists created by others or listen to ones generated by Spotify; there are endless possibilities. Here are some that I’ve found that are perfect for students whether it be for studying, relaxing, getting amped up, and whatever other moods on your docket:

Websites for Self-Help and Trainings

Knowing where to go for self-help, training, or tips, is something we believe is extremely important. Listed below, are a few resources to get you started that we really like and think will be most helpful for you. You can also reach out to any of our counselors in the office too, if you you would like to look further into any of these resources.

  • The website called “Seize the Awkward
    • If you click on the name, it should bring you straight to the link. The intention of the website is to learn about how to have those awkward conversations about mental health. It’s not easy or fun, but we do it, because we care about others and this will help teach you how to do so.
  • The website for the QPR Institute
    • If you click on the name, it should bring you straight to the link. This site is for training of QPR Gatekeepers. QPR stands for “question”, “persuade”, “answer”. It allows you to become a gatekeeper of suicide prevention. The school access code is: MTU
  • Our website is full of great resources, as well.
    • Here we have tabs pertaining to different resources you may be looking for, such as “Mental Health Resources” or “Well-Being”

The following is our office’s contact information:

Student Mental Health
3rd Floor Administration Building
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Ph: 906-487-2538
Fax: 906-487-3421

If it is an emergency, here are some following resources to contact:

Title IX Coordinator
Kirsti Arko, PhD
Location: Administration Building Room 306
Call: 906-487-3310
Website: Title IX Information

Dial Help, Inc.:
Call: 906-482-4357 or toll free 800-562-7622
Text: 906-356-3337
Instant Message: Dial Help

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Call: 1-800-273-8255
Instant Message: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home:
Call: 906-337-5623 or toll free 888-337-5623
Website: Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter

UP Health Systems-Portage
Emergency Department
500 Campus Drive
Hancock, MI 49930

Aspirus Keweenaw
Emergency Department
205 Osceola Street
Laurium, MI 49913

How Physical Activity can Impact your Mental Health

Have you ever finished a really hard workout and felt great? Physically, you were probably sweating, your muscles might have been shaking, and you were probably convinced you were dying (or is that just me after a tough workout?). Mentally, however, it’s likely you felt great. You felt at ease. You felt like you could accomplish anything. All of your worries were gone. 

I have suffered from an anxiety disorder since 10th grade of high school. Over the years, I have tried many different medications and techniques to manage this. It wasn’t until many years of trying to figure out how to manage my anxiety that I found out the benefits that physical activity has on disorders such as anxiety and depression. My anxiety is now manageable without any medications and I am in the best shape I have ever been in! Like always, though, everyone is different. I am not recommending that you stop taking your medications and start working out instead. It’s important that you talk to your doctor before making any changes!   It took me a while to get to this point in my life and I have had a lot of conversations with my doctor about what’s best for me. Whether you keep your medical treatment the same or change things up – taking time to consider your physical well-being is always beneficial and important.

Why does physical activity make you feel better? There are many articles and website resources about why this may be (which I will list at the end) but to sum them up, the main reasons are:

  • Distractions: when you’re working out, you aren’t thinking about all of the things that might make you anxious or depressed. You’re thinking about your workout!
  • Increases blood supply to your brain: An increase in blood supply means more oxygen and nutrients. We all know that exercise gets your blood pumping, but did you know it gets it pumping in the brain too?
  • Creation of new neurons in the brain: Studies have shown that disorders such as depression can affect neuron production in certain parts of the brain. Studies have also shown that exercise can increase the production of neurons. 
  • Tension reduction: Moving your body reduces built up tension you have from stress.
  • Boosts physical energy: Sure, working out makes you tired for a bit, but it actually boosts your overall energy levels.
  • Helps sleep: Working out helps to regulate your sleep cycles. 
  • Higher self-esteem: The more you workout, the better you feel about yourself.
  • Better memory and concentration: Endorphins are released when you workout. These same endorphins help with memory and concentration on tasks.

So, now you know that working out might help manage your stress, anxiety, depression, etc. You might have questions now like how much exercise? How do I get started? What kind of exercise can I do?

How much exercise should I do to reap the benefits for my mental health? The answer is any. Any physical activity is better than none. Something as simple as a short walk will give you some of the benefits listed above. The more you do, however, the stronger and more consistent these benefits may be. According to this article from Psychology Today, studies show that 3-4 sessions of 45-60 minute aerobic exercise a week can have considerable benefits to depression symptoms. 

How do I get started? Start slow and gradually increase your physical activity. Make sure you don’t jump in too fast! You don’t want to injure yourself or overdo it. As always, if there are any concerns or you have other health issues, consult your doctor. 

What kind of exercise can I do? Make sure you participate in activities you enjoy. If going to a gym isn’t your thing, try going for a hike instead! There are many different options available to you. You could also try and find some fun kickboxing or dance workout videos on YouTube!

If you make it enjoyable and make it a habit, you should start to see both physical and mental benefits!

Good Resources:

How Your Mental Health Reaps the Benefits of Exercise

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

How to Start Exercising and Stick to It

10 Best YouTube Workout Channels to Try During Quarantine

Self-Help & Motivational Books You Should Read

While it can be difficult to find time to read, especially during the school year, reading can give you a break from the daily routine of homework and classes. Here are a few great books for all types that are not only entertaining, but also helpful in terms of organization, relationships, school, and life.

Meditation and Mindfulness
Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus
The Secret Art of Being a Grown-Up
A Tribe Called Bliss
Work Rules
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The Obstacle is the Way
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #!$&
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks

Making Friends in College

Making friends in college is daunting to say the least. As a freshman, I remember life in the dorms and being intimidated by all that was available. I was even nervous and confused on how to approach others in my hall. With the vast ability to do whatever and whenever and being a semi-shy individual at the time, it was hard to find what I wanted my niche to be or know who I even was. One part of me would like to think it’s easier to make friends now, but I think that I’m still in the same boat; I just know how to navigate the playing field a little better.

I advocate highly for creating a relationship with your roommate(s). I know that sometimes things don’t always work out, but they are the person that you will always see at the end of the day and be there when you wake up in the morning. You don’t have to try to be someone you’re not, they’ll already see the real you by being in such close proximity, which can be nice in a way. You don’t have to break down any barriers or walls, you’re already being your authentic self in your very little space you now call home.

My Aunt Kim, who works at Northern (I know, I know, it’s our rival), has always given the best advice for making friend’s while in college. She always had something to say, as this is something she deals with quite often in her line of work on campus. “Don’t wait for an experience to come to you or for a great experience to happen. You need to make it happen.” This has been ingrained in my mind since day one of college. Constantly participating and putting yourself out there per se in terms of joining orgs. and attending events is crucial. How are you going to make friends by sitting in your dorm all the time? Which is funny to say, because that’s the boat we’re all in right now!

Despite being stuck inside due to the global pandemic, the university and all of the different orgs. have been really proactive in finding ways to still stay connected. It’s also nice, because everyone is in the same boat. We’re all figuring this out together, which has been making relationships even stronger, from what I’ve noticed. While you can’t physically go out and meet others, there are still zoom events and different orgs. on social networking platforms to connect with. There’s also E-sports, which I always forget about due to being busy with school and work, but I have only heard great things about it thus far. If you’re into video or computer games, that would probably be something really neat to check-out. I also know that Greek life is still doing recruitment at a safe distance, if that is something you’re interested in.

All in all, the message is – we hear you. It’s tough enough to make friends without the presence of a global pandemic putting a damper on just about everything face-to-face. In the meantime, give it all you got and attend all the zooms and introduce yourself to everyone. It might be terrifying to put yourself out there, but I promise you that the relationships you will create will be some of your most treasured. Thus far, I can say that the friendships I’ve gotten to make in college are ones that I know will be lifelong despite distance, pandemics, and time-zones.

Study at Home, Effectively

Welcome to a new age of school! Many of us are going back to school by staying right at home. I know that for myself, it can be so hard to stay focused and get work done when my bed is calling my name for a nap or my phone reminds me that Netflix just released a new season of my favorite show. I have had to implement new habits into my life to be successful in school, and I want to share those with you.

Pick a spot that isn’t your bed (or the couch)

I know how tempting it is to pick the comfiest spot in your home to get work done. But the bed is for sleeping, and you might be tempted to do so if you pick that spot for studying. The same goes for a couch. It can be far too easy to sink into the couch and get lost in your favorite TV show.

Insted, pick a spot where you have to sit upright, just like you would if you were attending class in person. Perhaps you already have a desk, a vanity, or even a kitchen island. The regular old kitchen table works well too! By sitting in a spot that mimics regular school, your mind will subconsciously prepare itself for learning better than it would in bed.

Make sure the area is decluttered and distractions are minimal

Take just a few minutes to clean up the area you will be working. With a clean space, your mind can be more clear and you have maximum space to work. It won’t be very helpful if you can’t put down your laptop or notebook down flat. By having a clean work space, you can also spread all of your resources out in front of you so it is all easily accessible. It takes up a lot of time to constantly be flipping and shuffling through everything that you need to be learning the material.

Additionally, by removing distractions, you can stay focused for longer. I beg of you, move your Nintendo Switch out of your line of sight, you will be far less tempted to play Animal Crossing that way. This also includes other objects such as fidget toys, footballs, yoyos, and any other random things you may have obtained over the years.

Find a time ratio that works for you

There are a lot of time ratios for studying and taking breaks. If you can work for hours without taking a break, that’s fantastic and we’re all jealous of you. If you are not that person, a very popular time ratio is 25 minutes of work, with a 5 minute break. Maybe you function better on a 50/50 split. Maybe you can work for 45 minutes and only need a 10-15 minute break. Just make sure you hold yourself to the restricted break time. Remember, the sooner you get your work done, the sooner you can truly relax (or take a nap).

Additionally, get competitive with yourself. When you set that timer, challenge yourself to see how much you can get done in the time-frame you’ve chosen. That’s how I clean my room so quickly. It is also how I stay on track and hold myself accountable.

Now that you’re actually ready, set goals for yourself

There are two main ways to set goals: qualitatively and quantitatively. Setting a qualitative goal mean you’re setting goals that have to do with improvement, and quantitative goals are goals that you want to get a certain amount of something done. It is also possible to have a combination of these goals.

Some examples of qualitative goals would be: editing the paper you wrote, reviewing your notes, understanding the learning objectives from the chapter. With goals like these, you aren’t necessarily getting a set amount done, but rather doing a task that improves your recollection of the information or improves the quality of the work you did.

Quantitative goal examples include: doing 1, 2, 3… or even 10 more problems on your homework (or just finishing it). Reading a set amount of a chapter, and completing a certain number of paragraphs for that paper you have been putting off.

Music isn’t the best, but…

If you need music and simply can’t get work done without it, I understand your struggle. However, if I may, I have a few suggestions to improve your work ethic.

Try and pick music without lyrics. Whether you know the words or not, your brain wants to focus on what it’s hearing and it will jumble up the words your reading or writing with what you are listening to. There are plenty of instrumental playlists and channels are various services such as Youtube, Pandora, and of course, Spotify. I sometimes find instrumental music to be far too sleepy. Additionally, if it is the instrumental version of a song I already know, I find myself singing along anyways, so my personal recommendation is the genre lofi. It is free of lyrics, but also upbeat. It helps me tune out the outside world, but doesn’t put me to sleep.

Test yourself, again and again

It has been proven through many studies that testing your knowledge helps you learn and remember the important information better. There’s four easy ways to go about this, among many others. Those four easy ways are learning objectives, end of chapter review questions, example problems, and practice exams. Very often, teachers will provide learning objectives for the course material, or they will be laid out in the beginning of a chapter. Most textbooks have questions at the end, and you can copy problems like math equations with new numbers. Some teachers provide practice exams before the real deal. By the time you get done working on notes and homework, quiz yourself!

If you can effectively explain a concept or define something (bonus if you can do it without referring to your notes), then you likely have a deeper understanding of what the chapter was referring to. Ever hear “teaching something is the best way to learn it” – it’s so true! Practice explaining things to friends or even to an imaginary student. For problems such as math or chemistry, testing your abilities repetitively will help reinforce the steps to solving the problem. Both end of chapter questions and practice exams are direct ways of testing your knowledge of definitive answers. And practice exams are great on their own because they are a direct example of what your teacher’s exams look like.

Get ready to “flex”

MTU Flex is the university’s plan for returning to campus and responding to any future disruptions that might be caused due to COVID-19. Part of MTU Flex includes surveillance testing. At any point this semester you might volunteer for testing.  If you decide to quarantine or need to quarantine due to suspected close contact, be prepared to “flex” anytime and reduce your stress by knowing:


  • Quarantining individuals may have meals delivered to dorms
  • Listen to your RA regarding protocols for using necessary public spaces, such as restrooms and showers. 
  • Keep your professors informed on what is going on. Tune in virtually if possible, and if not be sure to contact for approval on an excused absence. 
  • If you’re looking for ways to stay active while quarantining, check out the archived “Daily Workout” stories on the MTU Wellness instagram page (@mtu_wellness). 
  • Stay connected with the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being’s groups, workshops, and Husky Hour sessions!
  • Student Leadership & Involvement and the Center for Diversity & Inclusion often offer fun or thoughtful virtual events.  Check in with each to see what additional virtual events and resources you can access from your quarantine zone!
  • Additional assistance or questions? Ask your RA.


  • Try to have 2-3 days of food ready to prepare.  Run out of supplies?  Contact Public Safety 906-487-2216 for an Emergency Meal Kit.
  • Talk to your roommates and others you may share necessary spaces with about how to protect each other and prevent possible spread. 
  • Keep your professors informed on what is going on. Tune in virtually if possible, and if not contact for approval on an excused absence.
  • If you’re looking for ways to stay active while quarantining, check out the archived “Daily Workout” stories on the MTU Wellness instagram page (@mtu_wellness). 
  • Looking to stay connected? Tune in to virtual Husky Hour, groups, and workshops offered by the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being.
  • Head to Student Leadership & Involvement and the Center for Diversity & Inclusion to see what additional virtual events and resources you can access from your quarantine zone!
  • Additional assistance or questions? Email or call 906-487-2212

Roll with it.

What will be different? How will my routine be impacted? What can I expect week to week?  These are just a few of the many questions that churned around in my mind while I was preparing to come back to work for the year.  And while I’ve had plenty of questions, I haven’t been met with many answers.  There is so much ambiguity and change in our world right now, so I understand the lack of concrete answers.  However, I still noticed myself becoming anxious, frustrated, and stressed. So with that said, I realized it was time to adapt.

For someone like myself, who likes to plan and be prepared, constant change is maddening.  If you say the word “change” my body immediately reacts like you actually said “chaos”.  Since I know that about myself, I’ve put time and effort into learning how to be flexible and adapt to my surroundings.  #Tenacity, am I right?

Reframing and challenging my thoughts has been crucial in allowing my newfound flexibility to become a lasting change, rather than an effortful, daily focus.  Don’t get me wrong, it still required effort on my part. But now it’s become more like a reminder to myself to embrace my new mindset instead of a more frequent effort to mold and form my thoughts to match the mindset I wanted.

 When it comes down to it, I haven’t changed who I am.  I still love planning and order, and might get a little uneasy at the mention of change.  However, the difference is that change and transition are no longer the enemy.  I don’t see these things as a threat, just waiting to heighten my levels of stress or anxiety like it used to.  Not anymore.  Change and transition can’t control me, because I’ve learned how to “roll” with whatever comes my way. 

I share my own experience with the hopes that it can help someone reading this blog know that they’re not the only one having a hard time with this transition.  I also hope that this might serve as encouragement to lean in to any discomfort you might be feeling and embrace it instead as an opportunity to grow. 

If you’re looking for ways to adapt and overcome some of your own thoughts and reactions related to change and uncertainty, I encourage you to first be present with your thoughts.  Gain an understanding of yourself and any patterns of thinking that may emerge.  Once you have that understanding, you can begin to break each bit down to a more manageable level, and challenge the thoughts for what they are.  This can also be thought of as reframing, which might look like shifting something that might seem negative or scary, finding a way to see it from a new angle, and adjusting the initial thought to a positive outlook or perspective.  After tackling each of these parts, continue to integrate them into your routine and check in with yourself on which areas might need some adjustments. 

The beauty of a growth mindset is that you decide what you want yours to focus on. It’s also a fluid concept, allowing you to alter it when necessary and integrate new ideas or concepts. So here’s to you, the mindset you choose to embrace, and a semester of rolling with whatever comes next!