As a new school year begins, many freshmen are faced with
anxieties most have not had to deal with before: the stress of
leaving home and coming to an environment which they feel they must
adapt to as quickly as possible.
“At first, the seeming loss of key relationships with close
friends and family can force someone just leaving home to go
through a kind of grieving process,” said Dr. Charles Davidshofer,
director of the University Counseling Center. “And when such a
person doesn’t build new relationships soon, it affects their lives
in a much more significant (and negative) way.”
At the UCC, a place on campus many students and faculty go for
support, the top two problems that are seen are stress and
According to Davidshofer, the main causes of stress and
depression in someone adapting to life in a new situation center
around stressors that an individual feels they cannot control.
Common stressors are academics and interaction with friends and
Additionally, many students begin feeling a pinch almost as soon
as they arrive on campus, which only serves to agitate any
stressed-out feelings they may already harbor.
“Without people that I know well here to help me, adjusting to
being (on campus) has been very hard,” said Brittany Dowdy, a
freshman English major. “Everything seems to be happening too
suddenly. It would help if things were introduced more
The counseling center offers a stress-management program and
workshops throughout the year that outline ways to avoid and
“Symptoms of stress are usually found in about half or more of
our clientele,” Davidshofer said.
According to a counseling center stress pamphlet, the first step
in controlling stress is identifying its cause. After that, most
individuals can learn ways of controlling their stress and calming
themselves when they get stressed-out in the future.
At the very start of the year, however, many freshmen find
themselves in a new position and the amount of time they spend in
that zone of discomfort can last from a few days to an extended
amount of time.
“Right now I feel overwhelmed because I’m in the stage of
transition (that comes) before you settle in; when you’re still in
an unknown environment,” said Asta Kula, a freshman English and
political science major.
When students find themselves in the position that Kula
described they can begin patterns of stress and depression,
“Students making that transition are coming from a place where
they felt secure and safe and when they feel that that support
isn’t here, they tend to feel stress and anxiety over it, which if
not helped can progress to depression,” Davidshofer said.
While some students may elect to use the resources the
university offers, including the UCC, others feel that dealing with
their stress will just take time.
“What I really need to do is control my uncertainty,” said
Dowdy. “If I handle things as they come at me, I’ll learn to
Graphic ideas: A pullout box w/ info on the Counseling Center:
Open for walk-ins Mon-Fri 8-6, phone #491-6053, located in Clark
C-36, www.counseling.colostate.edu, after hours number 491-7111.
Probably something called “For more information on Stress
***”Quick Tips for Stress” – taken directly from Counseling
*Get organized and learn to plan. When possible, take on
projects one at a time and work on them until completed. If you
can’t do this, you may have too much on your plate.
*Recognize and accept limits. No one is perfect. Set achievable
goals for yourself.
*Learn to play, and laugh! Find pastimes that are enjoyable and
take time for yourself.
*Change your thinking. The things you tell yourself in your mind
create stress in the body. Whenever your mind starts running away,
say “STOP.” Refocus your thoughts on positive, constructive ideas
by taking a breath and calming down.
*Learn a method of relaxation. Make an appointment with the
Stress Management Program or browse this website to learn
relaxation techniques to relax your body and mind.
*Remind yourself that other people or situations cannot make you
“stressed.” When something comes up you can choose to react in a
stressful way, or choose to react in a calm way. Learning
relaxation skills is helpful in achieving this.