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How to Deal with Stress in College: A Freshman’s Perspective

After being at VCU for just over a month, I have learned pretty quickly how drastically college differs from high school. Fast-approaching deadlines, expectations from adults (or are they considered colleagues now?), on top of finding out who you are as an individual can become pretty overwhelming. No one is there to tell you how to live – when to go to bed, or what to eat and how often, which may seem kind of confusing to some. Here are some tips to help combat the feelings of stress.


​1.  Identify Your Stressors

Although college is a wonderful experience, it can get overwhelming very quickly. If you’ve ever been (or currently are) stressed, there is usually a reason for it.  The first step is to figure out your stressor, or what makes you want to tear your hair out.


Once you’ve figured this out, you’re automatically one step closer to learning how to deal with those moments when it all feels like too much. Try any one of these methods to kick what’s keeping you worked up.


2.   Be Social

Being socially active while in college is essential. Whether it be a classmate, a small group of friends or one of the 500+ clubs available to students, there is never a shortage of methods to bond with other students at VCU. For some, meeting new people may be an unfamiliar concept, but trust in the idea that other people are just as eager to meet someone else to spend the next four years with. It is important to make sure those friends also realize how important it is to stay focused on schoolwork too, so you can both succeed together.



3.   Treat Yourself


You should always reward yourself for your achievements. For example, writing a five-page essay, staying up all night working on that art project or acing your exam are a few of the many reasons to treat yourself to something nice. Do what makes you feel happy; your body and mind will thank you!


4.   Get Moving!

Not only does physical activity keep our bodies healthy, it also causes our brains to release endorphins that combat stress and improves our mood.  So the next time you’re feeling stressed, go for a walk, a nice jog around campus or hit up the gym on Cary Street for a nice workout.




5.   Memes

Yes, I said memes. The voices of our generation. They’re on every social media platform there is, and they can certainly help cheer up anyone who feels down. Having a good laugh is always the answer to a stressful day.



Lastly, know that you aren’t alone!  Everyone experiences stress, especially as an incoming freshman. VCU has seen its biggest incoming class in history for its fall 2016 semester.  By that fact alone, just know that there are thousands of other students who feel the same way — over 4,000 to be exact. It’s important to know how to combat stress in any situation to assess how you’re feeling. Do what makes you happy and enjoy your time at college because it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life.


Brezaja is a sophomore studying film in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. When not writing articles for Her Campus at VCU, you can usually find them endlessly browsing Netflix or checking social media, mostly Instagram and Twitter. They try to be as open-minded as possible, and don't mind having conversations with others about social issues. After college, they dream of being an art director for films.
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