Stress in college students

Whether you’re currently enrolled in college or preparing to enter a university, you can agree that some level of stress is normal when pursuing your degree, right? Learning how to be out on your own for the first time, deciding what you want to do career-wise and balancing academic responsibilities with social activities can be challenging.

Some stress at school can be expected, but when stress starts to impact other areas of your life, something’s gone wrong. Too much stress in college students can lead to a break down in emotional, physical and mental health, which can ultimately hinder your success. Are you currently suffering from too much student stress? Here’s how to alleviate your suffering.

Focus on your purpose

college stress in students

When you arrived at your university, you wanted to experience as many things as possible. In addition to your classes, you might have done things like take a part-time job or internship, joined a sorority or fraternity, signed up for an intramural sports team and found a group of friends with whom you do things with like attend parties and go to dinner.

Being well-balanced is an important part of life, but when you stretch yourself too thin, you’re not able to excel in any one area. Focus on your ultimate purpose. Are you wanting to secure an exclusive internship with an esteemed professor so you can boost your resume for grad school? Focus on what you need to do to get the position. Is networking within the Communications program your best bet on landing a job after university? Become well acquainted with the staff and students.

Get comfortable saying “no”

In a similar vein, you need to become familiar with a word that many people hate: “No.” You’re afraid of saying no to situations, be they related to your academic or social life, because you don’t want to miss out on opportunities. You also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

The truth is, people understand when you say no. Most importantly, you owe it to yourself to respect your own time enough to know where you want and need to spend it. By centering your thoughts and energy on what it is you really want, you’ll find more fulfillment and peace during your college years. Don’t fear that you’re missing out on certain activities – there’s only so much time in a day. You can’t be everywhere for everyone, so choose to align your interests with your goals.

girl dealing with stress in college students

Take responsibility for your state

effects of stress on students

What’s the first thing that happens when we get stressed? You start listing the reasons why you’re feeling tense and irritable. It’s your professor’s fault for assigning so much reading homework. It’s your manager at work’s fault because they’re not accommodating to your school schedule. It’s your roommate’s fault because their messiness is distracting.

It’s easy to push the blame for your stressful state on someone else. It’s a lot harder to own what you’re feeling and try to change it, but it’s ultimately much more rewarding. The next time you find yourself working into a stressed state, stop. Breathe. Ask yourself why you’re feeling so much pressure. Is it because you’re on a deadline for a project? Did you wait until the last minute to start studying for a test? Oftentimes, student stress can be avoided with enough forethought.

Take note of your emotions, try to shift your mental state through changing your physiology and get back to work. Once you become a master of your time and emotional habits, you can better predict and avoid these situations.

Use time management tools

Many students feel stressed simply because they haven’t worked out the time management principles that work for them. It’s understandable; chances are this is the first time you not only had to manage school, but also things like grocery shopping, laundry and setting personal appointments, like doctor’s visits.

It can take a while to get into the swing of managing your time efficiently, but there are some proven strategies that can help.

  • Rapid Planning Method (RPM)

This results-oriented, purpose-driven, massive-action plan is a strategy that enables you to define your goal, establish the purpose behind your “why” and then set specific steps as to how you’ll measure your results.

college students and stress

stress in college students

  • No Extra Time (N.E.T.)

What are you doing when you’re making dinner, commuting to school or vacuuming the house? While completing these everyday tasks, you could also be listening to an informative podcast or doing something else educational. That’s the concept behind N.E.T. time – you use moments we often view as “downtime” to simultaneously feed your mind with valuable information.

  • Chunking

Does looking at your to-do list stress you out? Try chunking. Chunking is the process of grouping together tasks by desired outcomes. By shifting your focus, you’ll feel less stressed or overwhelmed by what you need to do and be able to be more productive with your time as well.

Stress is a normal part of life. Some days you’ll feel more stressed than others, but you need to learn how to manage this feeling of pressure. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by all you need to accomplish – shift to a growth mindset. You’re facing these challenges because you’re growing as a person, as a student, as a son or daughter and as a friend. College is the time when you can pursue what feeds your mind and spirit, so instead of saying you feel stressed and worn out, view this time as a vital, thrilling experience that will shape your future successes.

Important note

The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. See full disclaimer.

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