Managing Stress in College
College life can be one of the most exciting as well as stressful periods for students. Stress in college is particularly of concern given the number of challenges that both freshmen and senior students have to undergo. The sources of college stress range from academic work to social stress, given the changes in both the academic and social spheres of life for the students (Baqutayan 113; Harikiran et al 331).
Stress that students undergo is particularly to blame for the students not graduating from the courses they started; in addition to some changing courses due to the complexity and demanding nature of the programs they enrolled in (Baqutayan 113). It is therefore for this matter that there is need for identification of the stressors among college students and a look into methods of mitigating the stress to enable students to complete their courses successfully.
The amount of school workload in college has been cited as one of the causes of stress for students in college. According to Baqutayan and Harikiran et al, the amount of workload in college is evidently different from what the students were used to in high school. This is in addition to the level of autonomy that college work requires from student. With such a visible change therefore, students find academic and social life in college more stressful. The need to juggle academics, social life and work (for students with part-time jobs) therefore puts students under pressure, in addition to achieving good grades to meet parents, family and peers’ expectations (Baqutayan 113).
Stress among students has a huge impact on their academic performance. According to Baqutayan, low and high stress among students results to poor performance, while students with moderate are capable of better learning (Baqutayan 114). Exams particularly put students and their families under a lot of stress, given the need to perform, and may ultimately cause poor performance.Moreover, the pressure to perform academically is sometimes a trigger to other psychological problems such as depression and suicidal thoughts among students who think they not prepared enough for life in college.
Apart from developing a daily routine of exercises and personal organizational techniques (Ornelas & Kleiner 68), religious activities can be a good way of managing stress. Additionally, colleges have peer counselors, faculty advisers as well as mental health clinics, which provide students with counselling services on ways of managing the stressful life that is college. This is in addition to customary freshman activities such as ice-cream socials among other activities that help freshmen and other students to socialize and get their minds off the stressful academic routines. Furthermore, healthy eating and avoiding intoxicating substances such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol can go a long way in reducing the level of stress for students (Ornelas & Kleiner 68).
Stress among college students is inevitable given the new environment, the change in workload and the absence of support from parents. While the pressure to perform and live up to the expectations adds even more pressure on students, stress in college is manageable. One model of stress (person-environment model) considers stressful events in their aspect as either a challenge or a threat. In viewing stress as a challenge, individuals gain a sense of ability and therefore an improved capacity to learn. Such individuals perform better given that they manage their stress (especially in educational demands) better. For individuals who view the stressful events (education) as threats, they get a sense of helplessness and less.
Baqutayan, Shadiya, Mohamed, Saleh. “The Importance of Religious Orientation in Managing Stress.”International Journal of Psychological Studies, 3.1(2011):113-121
Harikiran, AG et al. “Perceived sources of stress amongst final year dental undergraduate students in a dental teaching institution at Bangalore, India: A cross sectional study.” Indian Journal of Dental Research, 23.3(2012):331-336
Ornelas, Sandy & Kleiner, Brian, H. “New Developments in Managing Job Related Stress.” Equal Opportunities International, 22.5(2005):64-70