College is one of the crucial turning points in a person’s life. For many students, this is the first time they have to live alone. For other students, this is the first time they are exposed to a world bigger than what they are familiar with. There are many teens from the small town who are suddenly overwhelmed when they see the immense diversity of colleges.
The pressure of adjustment can even be heightened if you are an international student. Aside from the usual trials, you need to cope with the different culture. It would be a wise investment to have health insurance plans for international students in the U.S.
Peer pressure, academic pressure and the sudden rush of freedom are among the things college students need to cope with, so counseling is really important.
Causes of College Stress
There are many causes of college stress and most of them are due to being in a new environment. Counselors note that being homesick or intensely missing the security and familiarity of home is one of the most common reasons for students to crack.
College is an academic institution and it is the highest level of education. That said, the demands of college professors would be more rigorous and stringent than high school instructors. There is also the added pressure that college is the basis for the success in your working life. Students would develop “test anxiety”—a condition where you manifest symptoms of anxiety (sleeplessness, loss of appetite, depression) when you get a grade lower than what you expected.
For some students, college is the first time they have difficulty getting good grades. Even if you are an honor student in high school, the field is much wider and much more competitive in college. This can weigh down on the student.
Finances and post-graduate pressure is also another cause of stress. Even for the senior students, after they have coped with the adjustment period, they will face the transition for the next stage of real life. Harsh realities like student debt and the pursuit of a career are waiting for the would-be college graduate.
Managing Stress in the Campus
Counselors would like to remind students to seek help when they encounter signs and symptoms of stress. There are academic advisors and student groups willing to help or tutor struggling students with their academic trials.
There are also student health services that can help with any complications due to stress, such as eating disorders and substance abuse. There are also helplines for depression and anxiety with the school’s psychiatric division and counseling centers, aside from peer counseling organizations.
Self-Help Tips to Manage Stress
Stress management begins with the individual, and once you already recognize the symptoms, you can take these steps to cope:
- Never skip your sleep. When you are under pressure, your thought processes and academic performance would be hampered. Aside from the physical effects of sleeplessness (headaches and indigestion), these are enough to encourage you to pass on the parties and get some sleep instead.
- Engage in activities to have a stress outlet. You can take up a sport or an exercise regimen, or even join an organization. Just enjoy something to get your mind off the problem.
- Try relaxation techniques. It’s a challenge in college life because it’s usually fast and noisy, but meditation, visualization, prayer, or yoga can help calm those nerves.
College is a whole new level of competition, pressure, and adjustment, but it provides the preparation for the next chapter of life. There are many ways to cope with the situation, and there are also people who are ready to listen and help.