Being immersed in post-secondary can be a very stressful time. Academic demands, financial responsibilities, decision making, and managing time efficiently are just a few common college stressors. Following are some tips on how to enhance your college experience and cope with the stress of everyday life.
Avoid common pitfalls. These things that most college students encounter and are definite stress boasters.
- Pulling all-nighters. Many students pull all night study sessions or leave everything to the last minute, end up rushing, stressing and then going through the next day exhausted.
- Studying with friends. Sometimes this may seem like a great idea. Just be careful, if you’re not, you may find yourself wasting valuable study time. If you are going to try group studying make sure you have the right mixture of people with the same focus as you.
- Using caffeine for extra energy. Caffeine gives your energy level a temporary boost, but that can be accompanied by a crash that leaves you feeling completely drained.
Remember your purpose. Remind yourself often of why you are here and what you are striving for. Create a ‘dreams and goals page’ in your notebook. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy just a reminder of what you are going to do with your diploma or degree once you are completed, the great careers that lay in front of you and all the possibilities that completed post-secondary can give you. Reminding yourself will realign your priorities and boost your motivation.
Don’t over extend yourself. Life as a student is full of different demands, family, friends, classes, studying and often a part time job. It is important to make sure that your educational goals are a priority and you have enough time devoted to them. This may mean having to omit or reschedule some of your other obligations.
Exercise. Try and incorporate some sort of exercise every day. Go for a walk, park farther from campus, take the stairs, just move. Exercise will boost your mood, and is an instant stress reliever. Check out your campus gym, different classes they offer and the intermural sports. This is a great way to stay active, meet new people and relieve stress.
Eat well. Eat well-balanced, healthy meals as much as possible. Aim for more whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Excess sugars cause frequent fluctuation in blood glucose levels, adding stress to the body’s physiological functioning. While junk food is cheap and accessible they don’t set you up to do your best. Be sure to keep fresh fruits and veggies, and high-protein snacks convenient to you.
Limit alcohol. Keeping your alcohol intake down in college can be a challenge but having a few too many a few too often can be detrimental. Frequent partying and drinking can interfere with your ability to eat right, keep a healthy sleep pattern and keep stress levels down. While having a drink with a few friends may help you unwind always remember moderation is best.
Sleep and relax. Get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly. Sometimes it may be difficult to maintain a steady sleep pattern due to busy schedules, late-night excitement, or stress. But, getting adequate shut-eye helps you do your best.
Stay on top of your classes. Go to class. As tempting as it is to hit the snooze button at 7 A.M. skipping classes will only bring you more stress. Extra sleep is great but not at the cost of missing class notes, class discussion, interacting with your classmates and wasting money. Break down your course tuition and find out how much you are spending per class that alone should be motivation to not skip. Staying in class and keeping your assignments organized is imperative to keeping the stress over your studies in check.
Maintain and develop new relationships. Branch out and get involved with campus activities, form new healthy relationships and get to know your professors. Developing new relationships at your college will help create a strong support system. Having people to study with, exercise with, commiserate with and party with can relieve a lot of college stress.
It is also important to stay connected to home. Whether you are close by or far away, staying in contact with your friends and family at home keeps you grounded and keeps stress at bay.
Utilize campus resources. Some people find it difficult to manage all of the demands that post-secondary can bring. If you are experiencing, or someone you know seems to be experiencing, stress that affects or impairs functioning on a daily basis, seek professional help. Your campus is likely to have helpful resources through student services or student health.
At Lethbridge College there are dedicated counselling services offering free and confidential support in personal, career and academic counselling. For more information you can find them in room CE1343 or 403-320-3202 ext. 5741