Managing Stress as a College Student
Imagine you are back at your first day of college. You are trying to forget the fact that you have left your family, friends, and old life behind and beginning to accept that you are staring a new one. You walk into your first classroom and instantly forget all the good and exciting aspects and start to realize exactly how different this whole experience is going to be. After taking a look at the syllabus you begin to get anxious and overwhelmed. You start feeling stressed while thinking about how you are going to manage all of your class work along with the transition to this new environment. This is common for almost all college freshmen. What they do not realize is that everyone sitting around them is feeling the same. When people think of the word stress they may relate it to something negative. However, it can actually act as a motivational drive for improvement (Ross, Neibling & Heckert, 1999). Although some stress can be positive, chronic stress can cause serious problems for an individual (Lumley & Provenzano, 2003). Thus students need to learn how to manage their stress before it becomes detrimental. For those students who struggle with academic and social pressures, stress and time management programs should be taken. For most students, managing stress during college can be extremely challenging. However, learning how to manage stress may help students cope with every day social and academic pressures, and thus have a better college experience. This paper opens with a discussion of different causes of stress among college students. Next, the paper addresses the different levels of stress. Too much stress is linked with poor academic functioning and more importantly can cause serious health issues (Oman, Shapiro, Thoresen, Plante, and Flinders, 2008). The two styles of coping: maladaptive and adaptive coping are next discussed. Finally, the paper closes with a discussion of certain stress management strategies that are found to be effective in reducing stress. Review of the Literature
Sources of Stress among College Students
Feeling “stressed” is common for students in college (Larson, 2006). About 80% of students report being stressed out. During college, students have to take on more responsibilities and learn how to manage them. Many college students deal with stress as they try to manage their busy social lives as well as the demands of their academic schedule (Larson). Academic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal are all common sources of stress among college students (Ong & Cheong, 2010). The most stressful activities among college students are those related to academics (Larson, 2006). Student’s academic stressors are; too much homework, exams, grades, and career concerns (Ong & Cheong, 2010). College students experience the stress that comes with studying for an exam or finishing an important paper, but achieving high grades is not the only cause of stress among college students (Oman et al. 2008). Students’ have to manage a range of social and personal challenges that cause continuing stress throughout their college experience (Oman et al. 2008). Interpersonal stressors are those relating to their instructor’s teaching style, relationships, and peer approval, while intrapersonal stressors are; early classes, not getting enough sleep, and financial worries (Ong & Cheong, 2010). Larson (2006) found that the majority of stressors are related to a feeling of being overwhelmed, new responsibilities, and developing social relationships. Transitioning from high school to college is a life changing experience that brings on stress (Friedlander, Reid, Shupak, and Cribbie, 2007). The first year of college can be an especially stressful time for students. They are away from home, without their family and close friends, and are exposed to new people and new temptations. Students who find it difficult to deal with this transition may experience...
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