Monday, November 10, 2008

College Stress

Stress: A Daily Part Of My Life
By Sammi Richardson

It’s 11:30 pm on a Sunday night. I have to be up in exactly six hours, much to the obliviousness of my roommates as they continue to talk into the night. Monday brings an 8:30 AM class, a presentation due that morning, work, and more homework to complete when I get home. Oh joy. Stressful? Exhausting? Lack of sleep? Welcome to my world!

Going to college is very stressful. Deadlines for multiple assignments at the same time, midterms to study for, and don’t forget having to write a 10 page paper in less than a week. Try dealing with all of that and attempting to fit in a social life at the same time. And add to that the financial stress of all the expenses of living in a big city that is Manhattan.

I grew up an only child in a small town in North Carolina for the first 17 years of my life. I then moved to another small town in Maryland, and to a new city that was overwhelmingly large. I had to now deal with living with roommates, making new friends, avoiding a large credit card bill from all of the fabulous shopping opportunities, and learning my way around. Add to all of this balancing five classes and trying to maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Stress can be positive when managed in a proper way. It can give us the motivation to accomplish our assignments on time, and provide that extra boost in studying for that difficult final exam. Stress is a problem when it engulfs your entire life. Then you know you have a problem.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, although some stress reactions are part of deep and serious emotional problems, many are manageable and can be handled by a few different relaxation techniques. These include recognizing your role in stress reactions, developing a balanced life-style, learning specific relaxation techniques like yoga and meditating, gaining perspective on your problems, and clarifying your values and beliefs in order to get in touch with your inner-self.

Stress can be seen in different ways for various people. Some overeat, exercise excessively, and some choose to do nothing but lay on the couch and vegetate while trying to forget their stressful lives. It is different for everyone.

For me, I cannot do anything that will make me forget what it is that is making me stressed in the first place. I am an excessive worrier. I attempt to face whatever it is that is causing my stress and address it. If I ignore it, I become more stressed in the end. Therefore, in order to reduce my stress, I try to complete my assignments as soon as I receive them and do not procrastinate.

I am a junior in college, and sometimes I wonder how I got to this point. I have been more stressed and mentally and physically tired in these three years of my life than I’ve ever been before. Deadlines loomed above me, disturbing amounts of assignments beckoned to be completed, and endless amounts of articles to be read. In addition, I have ADHD and a learning disability in math. I had to take three math classes, go for tutoring, and miraculously passed them by my sophomore year. It’s a wonder I made it through alive!

Stress gives you that extra push to get through it all. Eventually you will graduate and leave the college stress behind. In exchange you will have “The Real World” stress. This may seem light years away to you at this point. I wonder if I will yearn to be back in college then.

Just remember, take it all in slowly, take deep breaths, and you will get through it. It’s not that bad. I promise.

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