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The Case Of The Junior Jitters

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

As college students, most if not all of us are well acquainted with stress. As junior college students, stress is basically our best friend. Junior year is the first year where that revered graduation finish line is well within our sights, yet so far out of reach. Most juniors are not only balancing three thousand level classes but also work and internships. It’s also the year when you’ve been around long enough that communal bathrooms are the bane of your existence, frat basements are a little too sweaty, and dining hall food just doesn’t do it for you anymore. This year, it is crucial to put those time management and meditation skills to work if we want to stay sane.

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If you haven’t experienced a crippling breakdown about how stressed you are this semester, I don’t trust you. The struggle to balance the academic workload with your actual workload can take up all your time. Part of the incessant pressure that college students experience is because of the constant noise telling us that nothing will ever be enough. Nowadays, we are told time and time again that a bachelor’s degree won’t even get you close to scoring a job after college. Without a dozen internships, five hundred-plus LinkedIn connections, and creating three different clubs, you’re basically done for.


I could go on for hours picking apart the unrealistic expectations set for students, the same way I could complain about every single thing on my schedule. However, it gets to the point where it becomes counterproductive. It’s perfectly okay to vent, but if the most attention your to-do list is getting is from your thoughts and complaints, then you should start redirecting that energy into actually doing your work. For example, sometimes when I leave a class I look back and wish I would have participated more. But how could I have done that if I was thinking about all of my other assignments and work I have to do after class? I’ve found that the best mindset for this situation is to create mental time blocks for yourself. If you know you work from one to four, just do work from one to four. If you have an 8:00 a.m. discussion, be ready to discuss at 8:00 a.m. Sometimes we don’t get to choose our schedules, but we can choose how we utilize our free time.


At the risk of sounding cheesy, the best part of college isn’t the classes but the people you meet along the way. Let’s face it, the highlight of my week is the weekend when I can finally catch a break and see my friends. However, sometimes the stress-induced headaches come from these people. Friendship drama, as well as relationship drama, is a battle I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (well, maybe I would), but one that’s pretty much inevitable in college. Typically by junior year, the friendship breakups and makeups have subsided, but sometimes they still creep their ugly head back into the picture. And if we’re talking romance, I feel like everyone I talk to is either in their third year of a committed relationship or deep into their healing era, and both come with their own set of challenges. Every relationship is bound to experience conflict, so it’s important to know what to do when it arises.


The best advice I’ve received about friendships is to focus on the individual connections and not get caught up in a friend group. In friend groups, there can be misunderstandings and miscommunications that can sometimes get the better of everyone. And mark my words: avoid the drama. In romantic relationships, it’s important to ask yourself what you want. You don’t want to talk to this guy who keeps hitting you up every weekend? Then don’t. Your toxic ex keeps texting you once every three weeks? The block button is there for a reason, girl. At the end of the day, with matters of the heart, it’s always better to protect your peace and put yourself first. And what are you really risking? Being alone for a while, big whoop. It’s always better to be alone than to put up with someone for the sake of having them.


The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Sometimes in college, it feels like you have to sacrifice your well-being just to get a good grade in class, or to go have fun on the weekends. For example, when a professor says that it’s okay to miss class if you’re sick, you know that it’s only acceptable to skip one or two at the most. And let’s be honest, sometimes that frat flu comes at the most inconvenient times. We’re also so drained at the end of the day that all we want to do is slump in our beds and watch TikTok for hours on end. And as much as TikTok can provide that sweet dopamine release, it’s not a good way to unwind nor end the day.


As busy as we are, we might not have time to go on cute solo dates or have an elaborate spa night, but giving yourself even thirty minutes out of the day can make all the difference. When I’m winding down for the night, I always indulge in things that make me happy and calm. Whether it’s watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother or crocheting a tiny rectangle, I always know that nighttime is my time. There’s also no shame in not doing anything at all. If all you want to do to relax is take a nap or go to bed early, you’re still taking care of yourself and letting your brain rest. 


Hopefully, this article helped you find ways to relieve some of your stress! Maybe I’ll finally listen to myself and follow my own advice. The junior jitters are real and it’s completely understandable to need breaks, not only from your classes but from your relationships. Don’t be too hard on yourself and start counting the days for Thanksgiving break!

Valeria is the secretary of Her Campus UConn. She is a junior studying English and Communications. She enjoys writing about pop culture, media analyses, music, and lifestyle. Valeria is currently working at UConn Magazine as an editorial assistant. For fun, she likes reading, journaling, crocheting, and making incredibly niche Spotify playlists.