3 Ways To Successfully Deal With College Stress

Junior year was rough for a friend of mine. Here’s her story…

Ever since her freshmen year, she’d been an active member on our campus, participating in many different organizations. She also had her sights set on the dean’s list and spent just about every moment she could studying, making sure that she was the best that she could be academically.

I dare say that she was the library’s most frequent visitor her junior year. And to top it all off, she also worked one on-campus job and one off-campus job. There were days when I’d talk to her and wonder if I were really speaking with Wonder Woman in disguise. I was amazed by her determination, ambition and overall stamina.

It was not until the end of our first semester that I truly saw how stressed she was. One day, I stopped by her room after class to find her sitting at her desk in tears. Through her tear-filled explanation, I was able to understand that she was stressed beyond reason and that she had no idea how much longer she could balance the workload on her shoulders.

Being a college student is a juggling act that can make even the most determined student feel as if they want to give up. You have to handle different aspects of college life that just seem to add up as the years progress, such as class, homework, studying, having a job, participating in extracurricular activities and somehow finding time to enjoy some form of a social life.

There is a necessary balance that college students have to strive to maintain, but finding that balance is easier said than done. College is filled with students who want to be successful and will give their all to do so. But is your health and sanity truly worth a lengthy resume?

As I told my close friend that fateful day, what’s the use of having success if you are too stressed to enjoy it Here are 3 ways you can successfully manage college related stress:

Prioritize your schedule

Prioritizing is important in finding that balance in order to keep the stress at a minimum. Many college students are guilty of biting off more than they can chew. Find what you feel is most important to you and your goals and focus on those instead of trying to participate in everything.

For example, academics always come first. So if you are involved in different organizations but find that you are too stressed to focus on both your school work and your extracurricular activities, then it is perfectly alright to eliminate one or more of your extracurricular activities in order to focus more on your school work.

In fact, it is more than alright. It’s necessary. As a college student, you should try your best to never let your school work suffer.

Schedule time to relax

Setting aside a time for you to relax is also a good way to lessen stress. I often set a schedule for myself at the beginning of each school week. Though this schedule often changes because of unexpected assignments or impromptu meetings, my “me time” on my schedule never changes.  Every day I give myself 45 minutes to 1 hour of relax time. Maybe I’ll read a leisure book or watch television (I’m a big fan of the Food Network).

Whatever it is that you enjoy to do in your alone time, give it a shot at least 30 minutes a day so that you do not completely lose your sanity to stress. Even if the only relax time you can squeeze into your schedule is when you have a meal, make sure you sit down and enjoy it.

Ask for help when necessary

Asking for help is one of the best ways to manage stress as well. Your college campus is filled with individuals who are going through similar things as you; seeking ways to reduce their stress and enjoy their time in college. Talk to them. Exchange stress reducing tips with friends and classmates.

You can even ask your professors how they would recommend balancing the requirements placed on college students. Asking someone to simply lend an ear and listen to you vent about your stresses is also effective. It can be a family member, friend, classmate, advisor, anyone you trust and feel will understand.

I found that whenever I felt the stress weighing on me too heavily, I could always turn to my family or friends and they’d listen to me talk about it. Once I’d unloaded my stress to the listening ears of another, I felt  better. Remember that you are not alone as a college student and there is always someone there to listen. You just have to ask.

Unfortunately, stress is common for college students. We cannot control the amount of work that college professors hand out or the time frames in which the work is due. We also have little to no control over the requirements of our jobs or extracurricular organizations we participate in.

Though stress on college students may not be able to be eliminated, it can be lessened and managed. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a few things in order to reduce the stress and keep your mind, body and spirit healthy.

So before the stress brings you to tears, try the above tips and remember that everything will be okay. Don’t forget to breathe. Stay strong, scholars.

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Ashlyn Porter

Ashlyn Porter

Ashlyn Porter is a senior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in communication with a concentration in theater as well as a minor in sociology. A self-declared cinephile, Ashlyn enjoys watching and studying film in hopes of one day being involved in various aspects of the film industry. Her passions also include in writing, reading, baking and performing Shakespeare for her dog.
Ashlyn Porter

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