When stress takes over

By Alexa Lago, Opinion Editor

As we find ourselves in the fourth week of the 2013 fall semester, the stress of college is just starting to kick into high gear. Most of us have already taken our first set of tests and have written our first papers. Every weekend we are starting to find ourselves buried in a pile of homework.

The majority of us are now juggling work, a full-course load in college and a social life. Students who are away from home are beginning to feel homesick and miss friends, family and significant others. Those of us who are living on campus are starting to really get to know our roommates and finding their flaws. Those who are commuting are trying to beat the morning rush as they drive into campus with tired eyes.

The novelty of the new semester has worn off and the stressful life of a college student has begun to set in.We are constantly under an enormous amount of stress that is attacking us from all different parts of our lives. Being homesick, having financial strain and working a demanding job are all to blame for students’ stress.

The status of a student’s social life can cause problems as well. Lack of a social life can cause a student to feel dejected and lonely. Too much of one can mean a life often filled with unnecessary drama.

Academic stress is perhaps the most overwhelming. The average college student takes 16 credit hours a semester, and often struggles to keep up with the workload. It becomes especially trying if they find themselves struggling with a difficult class. Students are endlessly trying to maintain a good GPA, which over time becomes exhausting. When finals week rolls around, the amount of pressure that can build up is huge.

Students might not realize how stressed out they actually are or how serious of an issue it is.

According to a study done by the American College Counseling Association, because of the amount of stress college students face, 37.4 percent have had to seek psychological help for serious issues.

The serious issues mentioned in the study include self-harm, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. The risk of developing one of these issues is greatest among incoming college freshmen.

It’s important for college students to realize that stress is an inevitable part of college, but it doesn’t have to rule their lives. They need to discover what their limits are and know how to relax and find ways to de-stress


Exercise is the best way to battle everyone’s demons. Students should set aside a couple of hours a week to dedicate to their physical fitness by hitting up the university’s Student Recreation & Wellness Center. Not only will it help them get into great shape after eating all those crepes from Zee’s Natural, it’s also a great stress buster. Once the endorphins start flowing, it’s impossible for your mood not to improve.

Yoga is an awesome way to relieve stress. It melts all of your problems away by slowly working your body and allowing you to take deep and calming breaths. The Rec Center also offers many workout options, including all different types of classes available to students for free.


Sleep is the key to happiness as well as a strong body and mind. Everyone should try to get a solid eight hours in every night. During the day, a 30-minute nap can even help relieve stress and give you some well needed rest. Many studies have even shown that students who sleep more tend to do better in school.

Manage your time

Between work, school and a social life, students have limited time. But it’s crucial for them to learn how to manage their time wisely. It might help to buy a planner and jot down all of your commitments. Having the week planned out is a great way to stay organized and on top of things while reducing tons of unnecessary stress.

Be prepared

Half of the stress of turning in papers and taking tests is from feeling unprepared. Don’t wait until the night before the paper is due to start working on it. Don’t stay up all night cramming for tests. Study ahead of time and write papers long before their due date. That way there is time to fix errors or visit the tutoring lab in Bierce Library to improve a grade.

Surround yourself with positive people

Constant negativity isn’t helpful or productive for anyone. If students are constantly hanging out with friends that bring them down or create drama, the friendship isn’t worth it. The same can be said for relationships.

Students should surround themselves with positive people who they can talk to and get support from.

College and stress go hand in hand. But if students can take a deep breath and learn how to manage their stress, they will be able to conquer it.