Every collegiate knows that stress and school go hand in hand, but did you know the way stress affects you is all in how you see it? Stress is universal and in the ultimate pressure cooker that is the college lifestyle; it can seem like there’s nothing to do but live with it. That’s not quite true! Stress comes in two types, the bad and the good. We’ll teach you the difference, and show you ways to deal with them both.
Everyone is familiar with bad stress. It comes about when you have a paper or a midterm (or better yet..both) plus work until 11 p.m., and you feel like you will fold under the pressure of it all. You feel anxious and defeated. You treat others badly and neglect important things like eating healthy and sleeping. This is you reacting negatively to stress and coping with it in negative ways.
Even though it may not seem that way, good stress is still stress. You’ll probably still feel a little anxious and flighty but instead of crumbling, you rise to the occasion. You feel invigorated and ready to take on the world. In fact, chances are that you made it to college because of your positive responses to good stress throughout high school.
Here’s the catch, any kind of stress for too long can turn into bad stress. Let’s say you arrive at UNC with dreams of a career in medicine so you take Bio 101, Chem 101 and Calc 232 all in your first semester. More than likely, at some point, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. Even though you’re full of rousing ambition you have to understand that too much stress for too long can have very serious consequences.
So it’s the end of the semester and you’ve already been feeling over stressed for a while now. What can you do about it? Here at Carolina, and at many universities around the country, there are a multitude of resources available to you. SASB offers the Learning Center and the Writing Center while campus health offers walk-in hours for students seeking counseling for the first time.
Christina Perry, an Academic Counselor at UNC’s Learning Center, talked a little about what students can do about stress from upcoming exams. “Planning ahead is key,” she said. “Sometimes the best way to manage stress is to avoid stress.” She reminded me that right now there is still time to plan for exams and emphasized that students can come to the Learning Center for help creating a “diluted, manageable schedule.” By the time exams roll around, “stress levels should be low,” she said.
An UNC English professor said that college is designed to overload you. It forces you to choose what you’re most passionate about and to discover your competitive advantage in an environment with relatively few consequences for trying. Don’t let stress that affects your health be a long term consequence. Let it keep you motivated but also learn to channel it in healthy ways and take breaks when need them. Maybe a Study Break?
Below are 10 tips for stressing less. Sound off a comment if you have any more helpful ideas!