Managing College Stress

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the common stress of college. Everyone is bound to feel stress at some point, but when it gets to the point of failing classes or impacting your health, it can lead to serious consequences.

Emily Naylor and Nicki Dexter, current students at EvCC, have felt their fair amount of stress as do most college students.

“When I get stressed it tends to take a big toll on me and it shows in many ways,” Naylor says, “like my appearance or lack of wanting to be social.”

Naylor continued, “I usually feel stressed at the beginning and end of each quarter; the beginning because I never know how I’m going to feel about my new classes and the initial adjustment to the new schedule, and I get stressed at the end because of all of the deadlines and finals week.”

According to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 31.8% of students reported that stress was a contributing factor in negatively affecting their academic performance throughout the year. This is concerning because not only does stress affect how well you perform in college, but it can eventually take a toll on your physical and mental health.

“I feel stressed every day from school,” Dexter says. “Stress just makes me tired and worried.”

Brett Kuwada, a Psychology professor at EvCC, also concluded that college stress can be a contributing factor towards other problems. “Stress may contribute to different psychological disorders,” Kuwada said.

According to the assessment, 15.4% of students also reported depression and 23.2% reported anxiety which negatively affected their academic performance.

Stress can be caused by many different factors of college, but the most Kuwada has seen with his experience is:

  •         Workload – balancing obligations in various domains of life, e.g., school, home, work, etc.
  •         Finances
  •         Relationships (significant other, family dynamics, friends, etc.)
  •         Unexpected events (job loss/change, personal loss, injury, car breaks down, etc.)

“The most stressful part of college for me so far is the suspense in not knowing if I’ll get into the nursing program,” Naylor states, “I’m taking all of my prerequisites currently and really trying to put my best foot forward and I can only hope it’s worth it.”

Nikki added on how she balances her academic and work life, “From my past experiences, taking on a class load while working full time is a lot to handle,” Dexter says, “it’s always been a big stressor for me.”

These factors are very common sources of stress for most college students. There’s no avoiding these issues, but the most you can do is to be mindful of the stress you’re feeling and proactively learn how to manage it.

“I find it helpful to write in my planner,” Naylor states, “Creating a to-do list and just crossing one thing off at a time helps me get a grip on things. Also, having a good support system that keeps me motivated has helped a lot in the past.”

“I try not to work as much and focus on school,” Dexter says, “I use the gym as a coping factor a lot.”

Kuwada concluded by offering some basic tools to stabilize stress levels. “Exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and engaging in healthy practices like spending your time with positive people can contribute to a healthier mindset.”

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The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington
Managing College Stress