December 6, 2011
How to Deal With Stress as a College Student
How does stress affect you? We have all felt this feeling before. Your stomach is twisted, your muscles are tightened, you feel down and out, unhappy and, you cannot think straight. According to The American Institute of Stress, stress is defined as physical, mental and emotional strain. 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress. 75-90% of all visits to the primary care physician are for stress-related complaints. Stress has also been linked to all of the leading causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, accidents, and suicide. My name is Victoria Rowe, and I am a college student, at the age of 40 something, college can be very stressful. Now let me explain to you why some college students experience stress. According to Jonathan C. Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Roosevelt, there are three main reasons why college student’s experiences stress, time management, pressure to succeed academically, and change of environment. College students must realize that college can be demanding because of the amount of homework that is due in a short amount of time, and therefore it is easy to become overwhelmed. We have quizzes, tests, papers, exams, and finals to deal with. If time is not managed correctly, to insure that all of these tasks are completed, many students will experience stress. For many students managing your time is a new experience, in high school your parents woke you up for school and set standard curfews. The transition to do these things for yourself can be stressful. According to Macmillan Social Sciences library research found that 70 percent of college students say that their grades have a direct affect on their level of stress. The pressure to do well can also be external. This can consist of family, friends, coaches, and teachers who all want to see you do well. Change in the environment leaving behind family and friends means leaving behind everything that is familiar. For many students your closest friends are not here with you, and adjusting to seek new interest and finding new friends can be a challenge. Some students have never been away from home, which could be a difficult adjustment. Now let’s recap the three points we have gone over. The first was time management, second was the amount of homework, and third dealing with a new environment. Now that we understand some reason for stress, let us examine some tips on how to manage that stress. There are five simple ways to help manage our stress. These ways can be seen in the form of an acronym. R.E.L.A.X . The first letter R. stands for recognize. We have to recognize what our stress is in order to deal with it. The second letter E. stands for exercise. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine helps ease your mind, but is also good for your body. The third letter L. stands for letting go. Think about the stressful situation. If it matters, then take a deep breath and handle the situation the best way you can , but if it doesn’t why waste your time and energy worrying about it. The fourth letter A. stands for attitude. Do you say things like yeah I’m going to fail this test. If so, take a step back and adjust your attitude. The last letter is X, and this letter stands for extra sleep. All students need sleep for energy. Are you getting enough sleep? Why not make a schedule and stick to that schedule, do not procrastinate. Another interesting point that I found is that all stress is not bad stress. We have positive stress, which can actually boost your inner potential and can be creatively helpful. We have negative stress, which could cause physical and mental suffering (Smith). We cannot ignore the fact that we encounter stressors on a daily basis. One way or another we will have to learn how to manage our stress. Above all, from my speech I hope you take away some useful tips on how to deal with stress so that college is more enjoyable. Even if you cannot remember what each letter stands for, do just what the word says relax.
“Stress.” Current Issues: Macmillan Social Science Library: New York: Macmillan USA, 2003…Gale. Riverside Community College. 27 April 2009 www.worldcat.org/title/...macmillan-social-science-library/ “The American Institute of Stress Speakers Bureau” is a free service provided for health care: National Conference of State Legislatures. 20 Dec. 1980 http://americaninstituteofstress.org/newsevents/
Jonathan C. Smith, PhD is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and founding Director of Chicago's Roosevelt University Stress Institute. "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Stress URL." 6 June 2003 http://secure.ahg.com/delta/clients/smith/main.htm