College life can be fun but it can be very stressful. Thus, learning how to manage stress in college is a top priority for students.
Thankfully, this post discusses ways college students manage stress in college.
Most Common Source Of Stress For College Students
There’s a joke around campus if a college student was not stressed out in college they were probably in the wrong major.
Now, all jokes aside while a college major can directly impact a student’s stress level, there are other factors to consider.
For instance, for some students, a source of stress may include:
- Project assignments
- Significant other
- Homework assignments
- Pressure to excel
- Part-time or full-time jobs
- Clubs and other extracurriculars
- Making friends in college
- About graduating and finding a job
- Getting used to the college lifestyle
- Pressure to fit in
- Sorority or fraternity
Nevertheless, no matter the source of stress dealing with stress in college can be challenging especially for college undergrads.
However, it must be done in order to be successful in college and to successfully transition into a productive and satisfying life after college.
With that in mind here are a few stress management tips to help manage stress in college.
Stress Management Tips For College Students
- Make a plan
- Get organized
- Learn how to say no
- Address stress early on
- Set reasonable expectations
- Get plenty of sleep
- Get enough exercise
- Take advantage of counseling services
- Exercise your mind
- Make sure you have fun!
1. Make a plan
Many students find it helpful to make a “to-do” list of what needs to get done that week or semester.
This gives them an idea of how much work they have ahead of them each day or each night.
It also helps them set priorities so that the most critical tasks are tackled first.
The less important ones can be taken care of later in the day if there’s still time available after classes or sleep has been cut short by other activities.
It may be helpful to set a daily time limit for work and stick with it.
This will help students stop wasting the final moments of their day looking at Facebook or watching TV when they should be getting ready to turn in for the night.
2. Get organized
Disorganized students may have a more challenging time managing college student stress. Often, disorganization leads to delays that result in poor grades from missed due dates or poorly planned projects that require lots of revisions because not all aspects were wholly thought out ahead of time.
In addition, an organizational plan can help students keep track of their progress and remind them what is coming up next, so there’s less chance of forgetting about upcoming tests or assignments when they are assigned.
It’s important to remember that just getting organized isn’t the only thing that matters when managing college student stress.
If students are stressed about not keeping up, their efforts will ultimately fail because they won’t be able to dedicate enough time and energy to their studies.
This is why it may be helpful for them to prioritize tasks so they can take care of the most important ones first while still leaving time in their day for socializing or exercise if it helps relax them during particularly stressful periods.
3. Learn how to say no
It can sometimes feel like everyone expects something from students who go to college, including parents checking in on them unexpectedly or friends inviting them out for a night on the town.
While it’s essential to find time for friends, saying no can help college students manage stress by reducing the number of obligations.
Once their schedule is filled with classes and other academic work, there may not be much room to fit in time for socializing or extracurricular activities outside of school.
This stress reduction will enable them to focus better during class assignments and study sessions. They won’t feel like any additional pressures could affect their ability to retain information given to them by teachers or that they need to learn for upcoming tests.
It’s best if students can say no face-to-face, so they don’t leave the person feeling rejected. If this is too difficult in person, they can do it over text or email.
Saying no in a polite and timely fashion can help them avoid conflict and maintain friendships.
If someone’s hurt by being turned down by saying no, then the person may find it helpful to explain that they have a lot going on at the moment, so they can’t do what the other person wants right now even though it might be fun activities.
In some cases, friends may also respect college students more when they have essential priorities because everyone knows there are only so many hours in a day.
4. Address stress early on
It can be challenging for college students facing a heavy course load to turn to others for help, but this could be the difference between one assignment that leads to a good grade and one that leads to an incomplete or poor quality because it wasn’t turned in on time.
It’s best if students take care of these problems right away, so they have more time to brainstorm solutions with their teachers or tutors if necessary instead of waiting until deadlines are looming closer.
Suppose they need help to figure out how to work effectively under stress.
In that case, college counseling centers may provide workshops where students can learn relaxation techniques like doing breathing exercises or taking short breaks when they feel overwhelmed by everything they have due shortly.
Even if it’s not offered, asking professors for more time on an assignment is usually worth a shot because they may want to give some leeway under certain circumstances.
Sometimes professors will also provide extra credit opportunities for motivated students who wish to study for additional exams because testing is where most students struggle.
Many of these actions can be taken before college student stress builds up into something detrimental to their academic performance and wellbeing.
5 . Set reasonable expectations
It’s essential for college students to set realistic expectations about how much studying they need to do each week, so they aren’t overwhelmed by what feels like too many hours spent poring over textbooks or class notes.
They don’t necessarily have to settle for mediocre grades. Still, the key is probably finding a good equilibrium between sufficient effort and sufficient rest given everything else they have going on in their lives.
Students may need to talk with teachers and professors if they feel like they’re spending too much time studying, especially if there are multiple assignments due at the same time as midterm exams.
It could even be helpful for them to ask classmates how much work they think is reasonable, so college students know whether or not they need to spend all night repeatedly looking over notes or doing practice tests before a test day arrives.
This also means trying something new, like splitting the study sessions into a few hours a day instead of putting everything off until it has to be done within a brief period that seems more stressful than motivating because of its artificial deadline.
6. Get plenty of sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial since most people need between 7 and 8 hours each night.
College students often face more challenges than ever before getting enough sleep because they have so many obligations now that weren’t present in high schools, such as studying for exams, working part-time jobs on campus, and maybe even participating in extracurricular activities outside of their course loads.
They need to figure out what works best with their schedules to feel refreshed each morning instead of groggy or constantly tired no matter how much caffeine they drink or how long they spend taking a nap throughout the day.
If this isn’t possible because there are too many different things going on at once, it’s probably a good idea for them to talk with their professors and see if they can get extensions on assignments due between midterm exams.
7. Get enough exercise
It may not be easy for college students who don’t have the luxury of living near campus so they can go home after class and spend the rest of the day relaxing in a familiar environment.
Still, whenever possible, they need to find ways to fit in workout routines, even if this means going off-site or asking friends around town what’s available in terms of gyms or other opportunities to get active.
Fitness experts recommend at least three sessions per week lasting about an hour each where people engage all their muscles by working out both their upper and lower bodies.
Working out is a great stress reliever, especially if college students feel overwhelmed or anxious about their studies.
It’s also one of the best methods for releasing endorphins which naturally lift people’s moods to feel happier throughout the day.
Suppose this isn’t possible because of time constraints.
In that case, it’s probably good to consider some alternatives such as walking around campus more often during lunch, taking short bike rides through neighborhoods near where they live instead of using public transportation, or spending less time on social media sites like Facebook and more time focused on other activities that will help them unwind.
8 . Take advantage of counseling services
There may be universities that offer free counseling services to all students who feel like they need someone to talk to about whatever’s stressing them out.
These services may be available through the university itself. Still, it could also be possible for college students to find therapists in their communities or online if they can’t find anyone right near where they live.
Many of these people are trained specifically to work with younger adults dealing with issues such as adjusting to life at college and balancing school responsibilities with extracurricular activities and friendships.
It’s a good idea for college students struggling academically or emotionally who don’t know how else to deal with things that may help them figure out what exactly is going on and how best to handle it since this will allow them not only to get the help they need but also feel much less overwhelmed by stress in general.
9. Exercise your mind
There are many ways to challenge yourself intellectually, even if college is primarily about academics.
One option for this could be joining a conversation group that meets once or twice each week where people discuss books or other publications related to an academic subject in-depth.
This may not only help students in college expand their thinking processes in terms of how they learn and retain information, but it may also allow them to meet new friends who share similar interests so they can form study groups together when it comes time for pop quizzes or midterms.
10 . Make sure you have fun!
College students need to remember that balancing their time between studying, social events, and work opportunities is essential.
This doesn’t mean people should try to fit every single activity they want into a day or week because this could cause even more stress if they let it.
It’s generally suitable for college students to make sure there are periods where they’re entirely free from any obligations so they can fully relax and recharge.
One way of doing this is by taking one night off each week to do something low-key with friends, including playing video games or watching favorite shows on Netflix.