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College Is Hard…Here’s How to Make it Better!

College is hard. The classes are demanding, your social life is intertwined with your personal life, and sometimes it gets to be too much. Stress is a common experience in college, and there are a number of ways to deal with it. You can call your mom, eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, cry, and vent to friends…or you can get it done!

So without further ado, here are some tips and tricks to keep life in Gambier under wraps. Remember that there are always going to be times when it seems to be too much. In those times, your support systems are incredibly important. However, here are some ways to stay on top of your responsibilities:

 

Write it All Down

It seems obvious, but writing things down is incredibly important. It does not matter how incredible of a memory you have because things will fall through the cracks. It’s important to have all of your information consolidated in one place—whether it’s in a journal, planner or calendar, it doesn’t matter! Have some sort of system where you can look and see everything that you have to do in one place. Color coding is also key. I personally color code all my dates. For example, one class is green, my greek society is in pink, etc. Make it a habit to take a minute after class to write down the assignments due next class, and refresh before you go to bed what you have to do for the next day.

 

Talk it Out

Maybe this sounds weird, but talking out loud is incredibly helpful! Sometimes all of our stress is due to internalization, and talking it out brings us clarity. Whether you look in the mirror and vocalize everything that you have to do, or you have a friend who you talk to about everything, it is incredibly important to acknowledge your stress-inducing thoughts. Get that negative energy out of your head! When I wake up in the morning and get ready, I talk to myself about what I have going on during the day, what assignments are due, what meetings I have and my goals for the day. It helps me prepare for the day and actualize what I have to do.

 

Plan for Fun

Maybe going to an Old Kenyon party isn’t your idea of a fun time. That’s okay! When I talk about fun, I’m talking about non-school events that take your mind off of stress. It is important to treat yourself no matter what. Yes we have work and club responsibilities and other stress, but what is most important is our mental health. Whether it’s taking an hour out of your day to go to the KAC, getting a cookie at Wiggins, going out on the weekends, or taking a day trip to Columbus, it is important that you constantly take the time to tune into yourself and listen to what you need. Yes you are at Kenyon to get an education, but you are also human. Take the time to laugh, to smile and to enjoy life in little ways. It makes a big difference.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On

Maybe you get into a fight with a friend or you get a bad grade. These little things have a tendency to blow up and make us feel truly upset. It’s important to learn that we’re always going to have little bumps in the road. However, how you deal with those bumps is imperative. Feeling emotions is important, but ultimately in a high-stress environment, it is important to learn how to not sweat the little stuff and to look at the bigger picture. Is this issue going to affect you in five years? One year? Maybe by next week it’ll blow over. In that case, why are you focusing all of your energy on it? Move on!

 

Put You First.

Club responsibilities, grades, and friends are important. And it is hard to balance all of these responsibilities and still be a human. But ultimately, you graduate Kenyon on your own, and you go through life alone, and you are the one who faces the consequences of your actions. I’m not saying that it’s not important to be a good student, a good friend, or a good club member, because it is.

However, it is also important to make sure that you are your top priority. Contrary to what you may believe, professors are incredibly understanding. Have too much on your plate? Go into office hours and see if you can get extensions or some leeway on work. Clubs getting to be too much? See about maybe taking a break from certain meetings. Friends getting to be too dependent on you? Have a conversation so they understand that you need to put yourself first sometimes. If they’re good friends, they’ll understand.

 

So there you go! Obviously, as I am a college student, I’m still learning the ropes myself. Sometimes I fumble, miss deadlines, come late to meetings, or get bad grades. Yes, I still tend to beat myself up about it, but I also plan how I can be better in the future. That’s what is most important: to keep moving forward.

 

Image Credit: Lexi Bollis, Giphy

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