Coping with college stress

Sep 282006
Authors: Kaitlin Snook

All of us dealing with college life also must deal with stress from time to time, coming from things such as struggling to finish an assignment on time or trying to mend a broken relationship. We have all been in a situation where our stress controls our thoughts and our actions. For instance, the deadline to turn in this column passed two hours ago, and I have no idea what it’s going to be about. As you can probably imagine, I’m under a little bit of stress.

To make things worse, for the last hour I’ve been on Facebook, changing my profile picture, writing on friends’ walls and updating my status – all very crucial things. I’m one of those people who lets stress take over their life and, somehow, I always manage to procrastinate. I’m easily distracted, never being able to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes, and I’m late to everything – and I mean everything. I start my homework an hour before it’s due, sleep until the very last second, and everyone always ends up waiting for me; my editors can vouch for that one.

The point is: I create my own stress. I know what you’re thinking: yeah, college life is real stressful – going to bed late and sleeping until noon, deciding which party to go to, and getting drunk on a Thursday night, only to sleep through class on Friday morning. But in all seriousness, at this time in our lives, there are a lot of people with a lot of expectations of us. Our parents expect us to work hard to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth, our teachers expect us to study and be prepared for class every day, and our bosses expect us to be at work on time. And even higher are the expectations we have for ourselves. This is the time in our lives when we are supposed to be finding ourselves, forging a path that will hopefully direct us to the things we will spend the rest of our lives doing.

With so much riding on this experience, how do we cope? Well, I panic, plain and simple. I get anxious and overwhelmed, and sometimes I even convince myself that I’m actually not going to make it. That, my friends, is called a panic attack, and although they’re not very common, I know I’m not alone in experiencing them. So, how do you learn to deal with the stress? You have to finally say enough is enough. You have to learn to take over your life and start controlling the very thing that’s controlling you. You learn to take one thing at a time and to take it minute by minute. So, next time everything feels like it’s out of your control and you just can’t deal, take a step back and always remember to breathe.

Kaitlin Snook is a junior open-option seeking technical journalism major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian.

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