Dealing with Stress at University or College
Attending university or college is a very exciting step in life. A lot of uncertainty and stress comes with it, however. Students must deal with studying for exams, finishing assignments on time, worrying about their future, and making new friends. Trying to manage these goals can leave you feeling overwhelmed and can lead to more severe mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-confidence. Fortunately, there are techniques and resources that can help stressed-out students cope with the issues they face.
Stress Related to Social Experiences
Departing from the safe haven of your parents’ home for the first time, meeting new people, and building friendships can be scary. The good news is that many others attending university or college are in a similar situation! Here are some tips for making friends:
Stress Related to Workload
Studying is a major part of a successful university or college experience, and learning the art of studying is necessary for good grades and a good future after university or college life. Many students, however, are not educated in this art, and know neither how to study nor how to manage their time effectively.
Here are some tips to help you study better:
Stress Related to Self-Confidence
Whether because of low self-esteem, or too much self-criticism, many students fall short of caring for themselves and do not give themselves enough credit for their accomplishments. Just as studying and time management are necessary for a successful university or college life, so too is self-care. When we do not care for ourselves, it is difficult to care about other things. Here are some ways to build your self-confidence:
- Practice self-care.Sleep well, eat healthy food, and exercise as much as you can. Treat yourself and take care of your appearance. How you treat your body will have an impact on your learning.
- Remain positive.Sometimes you may get a bad grade, or get frustrated with a task. It is important in these situations to remain positive about the broader picture. Focus on something funny, something you love, or something that brings you joy when you feel down.
- Have fun.Be sure to get out and do things that are fun. It’s important to have a balance of school and personal life.
- Silence your inner critic.We all have that negative voice in our head telling us negative things. If you are thinking negatively or are worried a lot, change the way you think about yourself, about others, and about school.
- Give yourself credit.It’s important to recognize the great things that you do each day. Give yourself a pat on the back for even the smallest achievements. This will keep you positive and motivated.
Long-term stress can lead to decreased academic performance, depression, and physical health problems. Some students may need extra, external support to help them with their stress management and self-confidence. Of course, what is stressful for one student may not be stressful for another. Similarly, some students may have a great coping toolbox, but others may not know how to help themselves in times of need.
It is important to seek external support if your stress levels are high and you are unable to cope. Universities and colleges have on-site student counselors and mental health professionals whom you can speak to. These professionals specialize in areas of workload management, coping with stress, and other student issues.
Students suffering from chronic stress often:
- Feel anxiety and/or depression
- Feel unable to manage things
- Are unable to think clearly
- Struggle or fail to complete tasks
- Lack concentration
There are also physical symptoms that are sometimes associated with chronic stress, such as:
- Stomach ache
- Back ache
- Frequent headaches
Starting university can be a stressful experience. The important thing is to focus on how you can cope with this stress. If you have strategies in place, they can enhance your academic performance, keep you happy, and reduce health problems. Be sure to create your own coping “toolbox” with tips and strategies that help you.
Caileigh is a play practitioner who uses forms of play as a way to promote children’s development and emotional healing. She is an outdoor play and loose parts researcher who is spreading the word about the importance of free play in natural environments.
Original Source: Fix.com Blog