College Stress: Causes and Treatments
For many students, college life may be notably stressful. However, what students may not discover is that earning a college degree may be an exciting, rewarding period where they can advance in both academic and professional life. A learning institution may act as the most enjoyable place in a student’s life. According to Landino (2018), stress is caused by some psychological and biological responses to challenging conditions encountered in life. It is what results when a person faces difficult moments in life. In some cases, stress may be a positive experience because it may help an individual to concentrate and work under pressure. Notably, students may develop adverse psychological conditions when faced with stressful situations.The American Psychology Association classifies stress into three categories: chronic, acute and episodic. Students may develop severe stress when they are faced with a difficult situation like a day before the final exams (Cohen, 2019). In a small dose, acute stress may help students to concentrate on their conditions and excel in them. Chronic stress tends to grind down on individuals with issues without quick endings. Chronic stress may cause death through heart attacks or suicides if unresolved. College students with financial difficulties may face chronic stress. Finally, episodic stress is usually caused by a tense situation. People with occasional stress tend to run from one stress episode to another. For example, a student who has developed a habit of putting off his homework and doing it a few minutes before the deadline has a high likelihood of experiencing episodic stress.
Causes of Stress in College
Living Far From Home
Many college students live far from home for their first time in college. Furthermore, the college may present an unfamiliar environment to students as everything ranging from food, accommodations, and people living in college may be different (Cohen, 2019). Even though students may eventually get used to the new environment, the first few weeks in college may be stressful for students. While in college, students may also miss the kind of support they used to receive from their family and friends, making it tough for them to adjust.
Test Anxiety and Academic Standards
Students may experience a lot of stress when they fail to get the required grades to advance to the next level of their education. Also, students may be exposed to a lot of pressure to comply with the academic standards set by learning institutions (Cohen, 2019). For some students, the college may be the first time they get challenged academically. For instance, a student may continuously score high grades in high school, then fail a test for the first time in college. Consequently, this may cause test anxiety.
Apart from being alone both emotionally and physically, a student may experience financial problems. Students with financial problems may experience difficulties catering for basic expenses like paying rent, buying food, acquiring cooking gas, and affording entertainment (Cohen, 2019). Coupled with the need to purchase health insurance, it is not new that finances present a dominant source of stress to students in college.
Students may find an opportunity to engage in romantic relationships when they join college. However, students should understand that college relationships can be stressful. Students who involve in romantic relationships may experience stress caused by break-ups, the pressure to extend some favors to the partner such as helping them when they are sick and bailing them out when they are broke (Cohen, 2019). College relationships may also expose students to unplanned pregnancies and other sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, gonorrhea’s or even HIV and AIDs, which may act as sources of stress.
Treatments and Interventions
College students can manage stress in many ways. First, students should understand their triggers. Students should think carefully concerning what might be the causes of stress in their lives and avoid such situations (Burton, 2012). Time management is also a critical skill college students can use to reduce stress. For example, students should plan well to have enough time for their studies, doing assignments, sleeping and entertaining themselves. Students do not have to deal with their life stressors on their own. As such they should find a sound support system like college friends, psychologists, and family to help them in handling stress.Students can involve in several activities to reduce stress: having enough sleep, eating well, participating in physical exercises, learning relaxation techniques and finding a stress outlet. Techniques such as meditation can help a student in lessening the effects of stress on their minds and behavior (Burton, 2012). It is essential for students to balance their expectations in school by setting attainable academic goals. Students can also involve in hobbies and their physical exercises to distract themselves from stress or avoid stressful feelings. Just like eating well, getting enough sleep is critical for a student’s emotional well-being. Students may sleep for at least seven hours every night to improve their mental health and reduce stress.
In summary, college stress may be caused by different events like living far from home, financial difficulties, romantic relationships, test anxiety, and academic standards. However, students can handle stress by involving in some activities like eating a balanced diet, having enough sleep, avoiding stressful events, properly managing their time, engaging in physical exercises, discussing their situations with other people like family, friends, and psychologists, finding a stress outlet and learning relaxation activities. Students may obtain guidance from psychological counselors concerning the best intervention to adopt.