“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers” – Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
The 2015 National College Health Assessment reported that 30% of students experienced stress that negatively affected their academic performance. Over 85% reported being overwhelmed by almost everything they had to do in the previous year!
But, why such a high number reports stress? Well, many students enter college ill-prepared for what will be expected of them. Often, they assume that doing ‘what they have always done’ and continuing to use the same study habits and time-management techniques will lead to college success.
There will be crazy load of assignments, research papers, essays, dissertations. At some point, it will ring in your end “I need help writing my essay” or “Can someone write my essay for cheap” because apart from too much work, you have limited budget to seek help with college papers.
Unfortunately, those time-tested methods will not always be effective in a college environment, and students will often find themselves faced with inordinate amounts of stress.
Never fear, though. There are techniques which can help students to reduce the stress of college.
A lot of the stress that college students experience results from a perception that there is not enough time to complete all required college assignments and still ‘have a life.’ Remember that a lot of college instruction is self-directed.
For every hour of instruction, plan on one to three hours of writing homework. A student who schedules twelve course hours can have anywhere from 12 to 36 hours of homework a week. Such a large time commitment will require planning on the student’s part.
Keep a log or calendar which details all of the tasks which need to be completed each week. Further, prioritize your homework; always work first on what is most important. Make sure to begin assignments as early as possible. Doing college assignments at the last minute is not only a poor work habit, it will increase stress as students try to meet deadlines. Avoid procrastinating as much as possible.
During homework sessions, take breaks. Give your mind a chance to decompress. Spend some time allowing the information to simmer in the back of your mind. Sometimes our best ideas and most creative insights occur when we least expect them.
Make sure to schedule time for fun as well. ‘All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy;’ it will also make Jack experience a good deal of stress.
Keep up your hobbies; schedule time to interact with your friends; play games; blow off steam. Just make sure that engaging in these activities does not interfere with completing college assignments because that would be counter-productive and a sure way to increase college stress.
A lot of stress stems from the way we think about situations. But “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer.
One person can find a particular event immensely stressful, while another will consider it a minor setback. Pay attention to the internal critic and the internal worrier in your mind and work to silence them.
For one, manage expectations. A student who expects to graduate first in their college class will experience a great amount of undue stress. Do not expect to be the best at everything. Work up to your potential, but be realistic about what that potential is. It is okay to seek help with essays from your college tutors on areas that you feel you need personalized help or clarification. Be yourself. Tell the tutors to clarify all gray areas about your homework, essays, or capstone project. This will reduce possible stress and lonely, troubling nights in your hostels of residence.
“You’re been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens” – Louise Hay
Everyone will experience failure, sometimes; devastating failure! However, dwelling on setbacks is generally counter-productive. Yes, it is important to learn from mistakes, but it is equally important to be resilient and bounce back from them. Heed the lessons from failure, and walk your chest high; a lesson has been learned. And that is all that matters!
A healthy mind will work better in a healthy body, so practice healthy habits. Eat healthy foods as much as possible. While it is generally easier to order a pizza delivered than to seek something more nutritious, eating better can help with stress.
Exercise & Get Enough Sleep
Aerobic exercise can help to diffuse anxiety. Finally, get enough sleep.
While it might seem that this last bit of advice is impossible to follow, proper time management (itself an antidote to stress) will make this feasible. Staying up all night the night before the exam might seem like a good idea at the time, but sleep deficits will lead to reduced cognitive functioning and can backfire on you.
Determine who can be of assistance. You do not have to be alone. There are lots of people on university campuses who are willing and able to help.
Most universities offer free mental-health counseling services to their students. Students who do not feel comfortable pursuing that route can benefit from having an ear, any ear, available to them.
Find someone to talk to: vent, express anxiety or frustration, or just commiserate.
Consider other resources that the university might offer such as stress management courses, time-management seminars, or study skills classes.
For problems in specific classes, visit the professor during office hours and seek help for what you do not understand. It’s strongly advised.
“Every year, many, many stupid people graduate from college. And if they can do it, so can you.” ― John Green