How to Manage College Stress
After more than a year of remote learning and Zoom classes, most students are happy to be returning to the classroom. While children get to have recess with their friends again, teenagers get to experience proms, socials, and football games. For adult and college-aged students, they have the opportunity to return to classes on campus. Even with the social distancing measures that have been put in place due to COVID-19, campus life is returning to a semi-normal state.
However, the excitement of returning to campus may become dampened when the stress of school work starts to dominate your mind. With assignments, activities, and exams, finding a balance in your life can be hard to manage. Here are some tips to help you manage the stress of returning to college life this year.
Use Your Resources
Most campuses offer mental health services — either for free or on a sliding scale. Find out what mental health resources your school offers and look into them. If you choose to access mental health services on campus, be aware that your counselor may be a graduate school student fulfilling their field placement hours. A licensed mental health provider supervises these students. If you feel that you do not need mental health help, but are feeling lost in the world of academia, set up a time to speak with your academic advisor. Additionally, some campuses offer support group meetings.
Most college students have multiple irons in the fire. They may work full-time, have numerous part-time jobs, or be parents of young children. Regardless of the situation, you may have trouble concentrating on that paper you are writing or the lecture you are trying to pay attention to. By staying present, you'll be able to take better notes, participate in discussions, and have a better understanding of the class material as a whole. During class, if you find your mind is drifting off to other things such as work or family, gently remind yourself that they will be there after class and then redirect your focus to the present moment.
Focus on You
When attending school, many things are happening all at once. Whether you're in class or not, campus life can begin to feel like one long day after another of rapid information coming at you. While many things may feel like they're out of your control, don't forget to focus on yourself. Focusing on yourself at this important stage of your life is not being selfish; you are trying to succeed. That means that you have to do what is best for you. Not everyone will like this behavior, but that's OK; let them think what they want. Just focus on doing what is best for yourself and your future, and make sure to prioritize self-care.
Be Kind to Yourself
As much as we all like to believe we have the powers of superheroes, we all have our breaking point. We are our biggest critics. So what if that one presentation did not go as well as you planned? There will be other opportunities to succeed. Maybe you did not get an A in a class, and you no longer have a perfect 4.0-grade point average. That's OK, you still passed the class, and grade point averages can be restored. If you received a C in that stats class, and you know it took everything you had to get that grade, be proud of yourself for passing the class. Let yourself know that it's OK not to be perfect and accept that a passing grade is all you need in some classes.
Self-care is just as important during your academic year (and beyond). While you may be knee-deep in research, carve out some time to do something for yourself. Self-care could include taking small breaks throughout the day, going for a walk, or fixing something healthy to eat. While you are filling out your academic calendar, don't forget to schedule some time with friends or at the gym a few times a week.
Make Friends in Your Classes
Having friends with whom you can share the ups and downs of school life can be tremendously helpful. These people can often turn into study buddies or someone to talk with about theories and projects. They can also offer you a second opinion or lend an ear to the thoughts that nobody at home would understand. The great thing about the friends you make during these school years is that they may remain as such even after your diploma is earned.
College can be overwhelming. For new college students, knowing how to balance everything can be exceptionally difficult. Life happens and some days will be better than others. When the stress is too much and everything feels unbalanced, it is OK to reach out for help. You can only do so many things during the day. Each day, remind yourself to do the best you can in the moments that you have; stay present and leave the rest behind. Be good to yourself as well. Being good to yourself can mean getting your favorite coffee, meeting up with friends or family, taking a hot bath, or going for a walk. Achieve Medical Center can provide extra support if you are struggling with campus life or college-related stress. We are a unique, multidisciplinary, private psychiatric and mental health practice that offers a variety of services. Call Achieve Medical today at (619) 375-3977.