Sunday, March 23, 2008

College Stress

Stressful College Life?
By Brian Batista

The alarm disrupted my sleep one morning and I realized that I was dreading yet another grueling day in the life of a college student living in an urban campus. As I rose from bed, my mind was suddenly flooded with a multitude of things that needed my immediate attention. Essays, papers, projects-and suddenly remembering midterms are next week, all while running late for your internship, can send even the most calm and collected person to the brink of meltdown.

This is the kind of life many college students live daily. For those living on an urban campus, like New York City, the task of being a student can be even more daunting as you disappear into the crowded streets and face city life, as opposed to hanging out on the sprawling green lawns of a university in a much warmer climate. Juggling multiple tasks is no easy trick, especially when a student does not know how to handle with care.

As a student, I was overwhelmed with college life, attending school and working full time. In the very beginning, it was extremely hard to find the time to do anything, sleep included. With a full time job taking up most of my freedom during the day, and enough homework to overlap my bedtime for a week, I suddenly realized that in order for me to survive this endless chain of work and no social time, I needed to evaluate my lifestyle.

The number one culprit in student stress is time management. With various assignments being thrown at you at once, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start first. Students should tackle assignments one at a time, assigning each project its own time-frame to be completed on, moving the most urgent and difficult assignment to the front of the line.

Working on the most difficult assignment first eliminates stress, and provides peace of mind for completing other pending assignments. Knowing that the worst is over from the beginning gives you a more optimistic view on other projects, and those can be done more efficiently and faster with this new-found sense of confidence.

Another surprising element of student stress that I discovered is eating habits. We all know that eating three balanced meals a day is important, but it is crucial for a college student. Eating regularly gives you more energy without ever feeling drained or sluggish. The body needs to be nourished constantly, especially if you are knowingly about to face another 14-hour day.

Lastly, and probably the most important piece to freeing yourself from student stress, is being able to give yourself mental freedom. It is important for a student to sit down alone and analyze if this is the kind of life they want for themselves after graduation. Being a college student takes on a great amount of responsibilities: responsibilities that carry over into your life in different forms after graduation.

Envision yourself at the career and family stage of your life. Would you like it to be this way? Or would prefer to have things run as smoothly as possible? The best suggestion is to practice living the orderly life you desire after graduation, during college. It will help you analyze your organizational skills and personal attributes you can tailor within yourself to function the way you desire to be in life.

Once you organize your schedule to work around your life, and your needs, you will suddenly realize how much free time you have to do things you would like. You may finally explore the city you study in with depth at your leisure, spend some time with much-needed friends, or finally catch up on sleep to rid of the bags under your eyes.

Using time management, eating correctly and exercising mental freedom are key components to achieving and sustaining the healthy, productive and free-spirited college life you envisioned yourself in as you stared out of the window in high school.

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