Stress Management Techniques for College Freshmen
You would think that your stress levels would decrease once you secure admission to a good college; you have the next four years to find a good job and become a responsible adult, but until then, you think you’re free to do as you please as long as you do a little bit of studying and attending class. Unfortunately, college is not a stress-free environment as most freshmen see it; it’s not all about parties and fraternities and other social events. Many students drop out because they’re unable to cope with the radical change from the high school to the college environment; others go to the extreme and attempt suicide.
The point I’m trying to make is that stress is a part and parcel of any college student’s life. When you’re a freshman, it’s imperative that you understand this and find ways to cope with it before it burns you out. It’s not hard to manage stress if you’re prepared for it and know how to tackle it; it’s only when you’re taken unawares that you feel the pinch and resort to unhealthy coping strategies like drinking that only make things worse. So if you’re a freshman who’s just finding their way about college, here are a few strategies that can help you beat or avoid stress:
- Don’t skip classes. It may seem like fun at first, but once you get in over your head, you’re going to lose out when it comes to exams and keeping your grades up.
- Set aside a few hours a week to revise your lessons and keep up to date with your courses. If you put off your studying until the last minute, you’re going to be completely stressed out with the volume of studying that you have to do on the eve of your exams.
- Don’t spend more than you have. It’s not a good idea to use your credit card without paying off your debt each month. Paying just the minimum balance will not cut it because you’re going to be running up a huge bill in terms of interest. So if you’re not good with repaying bills, just don’t use your credit card; this is the only way to avoid unnecessary stress.
- Don’t borrow money from your friends, unless it is for emergencies. If you cannot pay it back, you not only ruin your reputation but also your friendship.
- Don’t spend every weekend partying like there’s no tomorrow. It may be tempting at first, but all you do is spend money unnecessarily and end up with huge hangovers the following day.
- Don’t resort to alcohol or drugs when you’re stressed or depressed. They only lead to addictions that are hard to kick.
- Find a job that allows you to make some extra money. This can come in handy whether you’re trying to pay your tuition fees or pay back your student loan.
- If you cannot get along with your roommate, find another one or just try to ignore the one you have. Don’t stress over minor issues regarding sharing space and other stuff.
- Get enough sleep every night. When you’re deprived of sleep, you cannot focus on your lessons, you feel lethargic all day, and your health can suffer.
- Try and exercise at least half an hour every day. Even a walk around campus will do you a world of good in terms of both physical and mental health.
- Don’t give in to laziness or temptation and live on junk food and sugary sodas. Choosing to eat healthy food can prevent weight gain and provide your body with the right nutrients.
- Don’t give in to peer pressure. If you want to party or drink away the night, do so by all means. But don’t do it because you’re compelled by your friends; do it because you want to and if you’re prepared to face the consequences.
- Get involved in an activity that you enjoy. Don’t look at the grade value or academic return you get from it, do it just because you love it.
- Know what you want to become when you graduate. Even though you have four years to decide, your choice will determine the amount of motivation you have to keep up your grades so you qualify for the job of your dream. [Many schools offer career counseling programs for students who are uncertain about their future plans. –Ed]
- Keep in touch with your folks and loved ones back home. If homesickness overwhelms you, find support groups on campus or talk to a close friend.
- If you’ve had to leave behind a significant other, talk things through so that your relationship and your mental condition stay healthy. Understand that long distance relationships are difficult and that you have to work hard to make them work.
College is a time to be enjoyed and cherished; what you learn during these four years forms your foundation for life, so don’t let stress ruin the experience for you.
Note: Opinions expressed in this guest post may not represent the views of Family Anatomy or its authors. Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.