Stress and college oftentimes go hand-in-hand. It’s so widespread that it’s perceived as normal. The reality is that stress can lead to an assortment of health problems, especially if it’s left unchecked for too long. No one should spend four years of their life at a high level of stress. Students that attend the University of Southern California and other schools across the nation should take measures to better cope with anxiety and stress related to life and their studies.
If you’re a stressed out college student, you’re not alone. Here are some stats collected from various studies:
- 20 percent of college students admit to feeling stress majority of the time.
- 10 percent of college kids said they contemplated suicide.
- 34 percent of college students said they felt depressed within the past 90 days.
- 13 percent of students in college had been diagnosed with anxiety, depression or another mental disorder.
- 80 percent of college kids admit to feeling stressed often or sometimes.
Half of surveyed students in college felt overwhelmed with anxiety within the past 12 months.
What Causes College Stress?
At first thought, you’d guess the coursework would be to blame, but this is only part of the problem. There are three common culprits that cause stress during college:
- Living away from home for the first time. Most college students live on school campus or in an off-campus apartment with other roommates or alone.
- Planning for life after graduation. Some have to choose whether to go into the workforce or continue their education.
- Tests and academic demands can be at an all time high throughout the school y This is especially so for students who are getting funded by a scholarship that requires a specific GPA to continue.
Dealing with College Stress
Finding the source of your stress is essential for learning how to cope with it. Once you have pinpointed the root problem, you can find ways to better manage it. The following methods can be used, depending on your situation:
- A well-balanced schedule that sets aside time for academia, social events and rest. If you can manage responsibilities and still get rest, then your levels of stress will go down.
- Set goals that are attainable. It’s great to overachieve, but if you are consistently going after goals that are difficult or impossible to reach, you will continue to stress.
- Don’t use stimulants like energy drinks, coffee and medications. This only elevates your body’s stress response.
- Exercise regularly to help relieve built up tensions. Just 20 minutes per session two to three times per week can do wonders.
- Vent in your journal or to a close friend or family member. This can help reduce the impact of stress, rather than holding it in and allowing it to build. Plus, talking about it can sometimes make it seem less stressful and can help you figure a way out.
Make sure you set aside time for leisure activities, so you can focus your mind on activities not related to school and life in general.