4 Tips on Dealing With the Stresses of College Life

An organized approach to studying!

Two summers ago I was so excited to start my freshman year at Washington College. Just like any other freshman, I was nervous about meeting my roommate, making new friends and adjusting to classes and homework. I knew college would be more challenging than high school, but I was totally unprepared for the workload that the professors placed on me and my fellow classmates. The stress of moving away from home and living with someone unfamiliar, only added to the stress of classwork. The transition from high school to college became a huge struggle for me. My solution, naturally, was to whine and moan to my parents and older siblings about the issues I was having. They ignored my persistent complaints and assured me that with time, things would get easier and encouraged me not to give up.

A year and half later I can attest that the advice I was given freshman year has proven to be true. Over time I have learned how to better deal with stress and these four specific changes made things easier – especially during final exams – the most stressful week of each semester.

        1. Manage your time. When it is nearing the end of the semester and all my professors decide to hand out a million assignments at once, my daily planner becomes my best friend. Each night I make a list of things that I want to accomplish the next day, number one being the most pressing assignment. Sometimes I even go as far as to put time slots next to each item in order to indicate how much time should be spent on them. I find that planning my days out in advanced gives me less to worry about and also prevents procrastination.
        2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There is no worse feeling than someone else is sitting in your spot at the library the night before the big exam, I get it. However, instead of getting upset about it, focus your energy on being productive. You will be amazed how much less stressed you feel if you ignore the insignificant dramas of everyday life.
        3. Take breaks from work. College is not only about going to class and doing homework; it’s about experiencing new things and figuring out who you are. Don’t forget to allow yourself time to do things that you enjoy.  Fun activities are a great way to relieve stress. Go for a run, have a gossip session with your best friends, listen to some music, or watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Do something that’s fun for you and helps you let off some steam. Keeping stress bottled up can cause both physical and emotional harm in the long run.
        4. Find what works for you. Everyone has their own methods when it comes to studying. When I study I like to listen to classical music and sit on my floor (strange, I know). I do know people though who prefer to work in the complete opposite setting – in silence while sitting at a desk. My advice to you is to find out what conditions are easiest for you to study in, and stick to them. This will help to eliminate any extra anxiety and stress that you might have because you will be more comfortable.

Stressful situations are sometimes unavoidable, especially for college students, but it is possible to weaken their blows. It was not too long ago that I was pulling my hair out because I was too overwhelmed. However, if I have been able to decrease the amount of stress in my life this drastically in just a year and a half, maybe by senior year I’ll be completely stress free!

Studying is not the only thing that creates stress in the life of a college student. If you are interested in finding out more about how to handle stress, check out Why Kids Lose it at College by Meg F. Schneider.

Sarah Lambertson is a sophomore at Washington College where she is studying business management and Spanish. She is an active member of several organizations including Zeta Tau Alpha, Students Helping Honduras and the tech crew at the campus theater.





1 Comment

  1. Robert G.

    Well organized and well written. I’m really pleased to see that she uses a day planner. That is one of the key ingredients to success.