Tuesday, March 27, 2007

College Life Is A Challenge, Get Used To It
By Leigh Baker

Many students today are feeling that the pressures of college are simply too much. But why? College has recently become a necessary step in one’s life, so the stressors of it should be widely known. Students understand what they are getting into before they actually get into it, and if it truly is too much for them, there are many options that will help them to combat the stress they feel.

Sure, college isn’t easy. In fact, it’s pretty tough for most people. If students are not aware of this before they enter college, then something is going wrong in their years of preparation. Someone should tell them just what it is they are getting themselves into. After all, that is what the word “preparation” means: any proceeding, experience, or the like considered as a mode of preparing for the future, according to Webster’s Dictionary.

So, why are students now complaining that their education is interfering with their emotional well being? It is because they have never been told what to expect. If they were told, then they would have nothing to complain about.

The University of Florida Counseling Center names a few factors that contribute to stress among people of all ages. First, the environment is a stressor simply because it is not constant. Noise, traffic, weather, and crowding are all aspects of the environment, which certainly do not ease the mind. Next, physiological factors make life harder to deal with.

Things such as illness, injury, or hormones can elevate the stress level. On that note, lack of sleep, another physiological factor, is one thing that college students need to pay special attention to. Third are social situations. The university names things such as finances, work, social events, and losing a loved one as being strong instigators of anxiety. Finally, we come to personal thoughts. A negative-thinking person is obviously more likely to find themselves feeling blue. If students keep a close watch on these symptoms, especially if they are made aware of them before entering college, they will be able to effectively deal with the pressures that come with post-secondary education.

Besides this, however, if students still feel the need to gripe about their problems, there are plenty of things that can be done in order reduce their stress level. One thing is to develop a balanced lifestyle. This means eating right, sleeping enough, and balancing day-to-day activities. It’s also important to do something you enjoy, such as sports or recreation.

Additionally, students can discuss their problems with others, and thus, gain a wider perspective on their issue. It provides a sense of control, and allows students to move away from their bubble of negativity. Lastly, students should strive for meaning and keep their values in check. A lack of purpose can cause stress, so if students find things that provide satisfaction, a sense of contentment will accompany that.

All of these things are important to a student’s success in college. It certainly is not an easy task, but it’s not supposed to be. It is meant to be a challenging, trying period in one’s life, but if dealt with correctly, students will consider these years to be the most valuable thus far in their lifetime.

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