This time of year it feels as though midterms have just ended, yet it is already time to start stressing about finals. Papers are being turned in, projects are wrapping up, and right after Thanksgiving break it will be time to hunker down and start cramming all over again.
All of these tasks for school, along with other commitments to friends and extra-curricular activities, can be overwhelming and cause a great deal of stress. Stress is neither conducive to good studying nor is it healthy. According to The American Institute of Stress, stress can cause headaches, neck and back pain, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, social isolation, and many more issues both mental and physical.
Unfortunately, once these symptoms of stress have manifested themselves, they can cause more stress in a person’s life and inevitably lead to more issues. So how do you stop this seemingly perpetual cycle of stress while also getting through classes and maintaining a normal social life?
The easiest way would be to get ahead of the stress. Staying on top of school work and making sure papers and projects do not all pile up will help to decrease stress. That way, one project can be tackled at a time with the proper amount of thought and focus. It is also easier to split the task at hand up into pieces. This means not saving an entire paper until the night before it is due. If a paper is due in a week, get a head start on it a few weeks early, work a little bit at a time and eventually the paper will get done, hopefully with a minimal amount of stress.
Oftentimes schoolwork is not that easy. Most of the time when there is a large paper or project due in one class there are other smaller tasks to do in other classes and all this work can add up. But there are still ways to try to combat stress during these demanding times. Taking a break from working is always an option. Even just taking ten or fifteen minutes to listen to music or chat with a friend can break up the time that you are working and give your mind a rest.
Another great option to relieve stress is exercise. Taking an hour or so for running, going to the gym, or playing one of the club sports on campus can both help to alleviate stress as well as give you a brief respite from work for classes.
A final option is talking about what is causing you stress. You can talk with a friend, a parent, or even go to the Counseling Center to get worries and anxieties off your chest. This can be helpful to some people who feel simply overwhelmed by the amount of work they have on their plates.
Stress can be a college student’s worst enemy. It can hinder both work inside the classroom and a student’s social life. Stress can manifest itself both physically and mentally and make a student’s life even more stressful. So to combat stress this year, try getting your work done in advance and do not let it pile up. But if that simply will not work, take some time to yourself to do something you enjoy, or talk about what is stressing you out. More than anything though, do not let the stress rule your life. One more month until winter break begins: You can do it!