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How to Manage Academic Stress in College Life
There was a time when we used to hear the word ‘stress’ from professionals who were swamped with work all day in their offices. But in recent times, this word has invaded the academic world too. Nowadays, students in colleges and universities also complain of stress. Along with their usual studies, every college student needs to perform well in a variety of assignments, projects, extra-curricular activities and many more. Life is really hectic for all the tertiary students. A few suggestions from our experts can help you to get rid of academic stress. Before we jump into those suggestions, let us first know what does academic stress really mean.
Academic stress, causes and symptoms
Scientifically, stress is a particular state of mental and emotional tension and strain which adversely affects the body. Academic stress is quite similar. It is a type of natural reaction of the body when somebody feels apprehensive about their performance in the exams or studies. Sometimes, the reaction of the parents and friends also stimulates the academic stress among the students. Sweaty hands and heart pounding abnormally are some indications of academic stress. Though academic stress is temporary, it can turn into chronic if not addressed properly.
Recently a statistic revealed that every year around 700 students within the age group of 15-24 commit suicide in UK. Experts comment that a majority of the students end their life as they fail to cope with the academic pressure. Academic stress can get triggered any time. The most important causes for academic stress include:
- Having too much workload or too much responsibility in academic life
- Insecurity about future especially at the termination of the semester
- Facing discrimination or harassment from senior students
- Residing in an unhealthy and depressing environment
- Inability to pay the tuition fees on time
- Personal reasons like death of loved one or prolonged illness
- And obviously, unrealistic expectations about oneself.
Sometimes, fear and uncertainty which arise from other aspects can also lead to stress in academic life. Suppose, a student regularly hears about terrorist attacks; somehow it influences his/her mind and affects him/her adversely. He/she may start thinking that they might become a victim of these terrorist attacks. This may turn into academic stress gradually. Hence, the causes of academic stress are diverse and can attack the students any time.
Whenever the body is in a stressful environment, it responds specifically. It varies from student to student. In case you are suffering from temporary academic stress, you might experience any one of these physical signs:
- Difficulty in concentrating in studies
- Irritability in the body
- Feeling exhausted or physical fatigue
- Upset stomach.
If this academic stress persists for a longer period of time, it may turn into acute academic stress or chronic stress. It may give rise to serious health conditions, such as
- High blood pressure
- Severe depression
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weight loss and more.
So you should try to address academic stress immediately or else it may turn chronic.
Stress management tips for college students
Let’s start with a small but alarming statistic. In a recent survey by YouthSight, it was revealed that 65 percent of the university students are suffering from academic stress and nearly half of them had suicidal thoughts! Definitely, this generation experiences the most academic stress due to rise in competition and pressure. If you feel the same kind of academic stress, then these suggestions will be very helpful to you.
- Get a healthy diet
Eating healthy and eating fresh is the key for a hale and hearty life. Most of the medical practitioners comment that eating fruits and vegetables provide all the necessary nutrients to the body which in turn reduces the stress considerably. It also develops the immunity of the body that becomes vulnerable to illness when weak.
So, next time rather than devouring yourself on your favorite pizza, try some fresh apples! You will like it.
- Exercise daily
Every day take out at least 15 minutes of your time for exercises. Exercising daily releases the hormone of endorphins. These endorphins are very effective to make you feel good for the rest of the day. Start with 15 minutes and gradually increase the time to half an hour. You will definitely feel better. If you completely dislike doing exercise alone, you can join sporting clubs in your neighborhood.
You can try yoga . It is a definitely great way to relax the muscles and calm your mind.
- Indulge in a relaxing activity
It is important to take a meaningful break every day and do at least one such activity which will help to relax the body and mind. It can be meditation, playing your favorite sport, listening to music, reading a book or simply walking. Indulging in something which you like always decreases the stress in your body and invigorates yourself with new energy and commitment.
Almost all the experts of the world opine that spending time with animals is one of the best stress-busters. If possible, have a pet dog. You will get boundless love without any commitment.
- Address the issue
Sometimes, it is difficult to identify the proper reason for the academic stress. But working on it will help you to find out the issue. Think about it and try to address it as fast as soon as you can. The reason may be studies, accommodation, poor results or any other personal issue. Talk to your parents, lecturers, student counselors and seniors and find out the remedy.
If you see that the cause of your strain is a particular subject in which despite your best efforts you are performing below the standards, go for professional assistance. Private tutors or online academic assistance services will be your ideal destination.
- Develop mindfulness
Every human being in their life experiences failure and are criticized by others. The students are no exception. If you have performed badly in one semester, it is important to accept the fact and prepare yourself for the next one. It is called mindfulness. It refers to paying attention and becoming conscious non-judgmentally. It helps in self-acceptance and fosters concentration in the work.
It is difficult to ignore the criticism but not impossible. Try to look into the positive side. Use all those ‘rebukes’ to boost yourself and double your efforts so that you can perform exceedingly well in the next evaluation.
- Focus on your strengths
All the students have their own weaknesses. Accordingly, they have their own strengths too. Do not ever forget your achievements and successes that you have accomplished in your life. It will help you to regain your self esteem. Have a definite plan ready how to manage the extra stress during the exam or the assessment.
Nothing is better if you formulate a strategy at the beginning of the academic year and start working on your weaknesses. At the end of that very academic year, you can turn your deficiencies into your strongholds.
- Balance your life
Life is not all about studies, assignments and monthly evaluations. Fun, enjoyment and providing time to the family is also equally important. Often the monotonous life leads to stress, exhaustion. Take the weekend to relax and schedule yourself completely away from your usual routine of studies. Sometimes a longer break (more than a weekend) is also necessary.
Sometimes a chat with the closest friends and having a dinner together helps to forget all the worries of your life.
- Quit all your bad habits
Some people say that they smoke in order to relax. But scientists have found that nicotine, the chief alkaloid found in cigarettes suppresses the secretion of serotonin hormone. This hormone is known to fight stress. Hence, you should stay away from every form of intoxication like cigarettes, alcohol etc. They can ruin your academic life.
If you are a smoker, quit smoking from today only. Rather than pushing it every day to tomorrow, leave this bad habit from this instance. A first few days can be difficult but you will breathe really fresh a week after.
Don’t quit your studies
Many a times the students suffering from academic stress feels that the studies are the source of all evil. Unable to tackle the pressure any more, they quit their studies. But leaving the academic course is a not the solution. Withdrawing yourself from the studies can further deteriorate the condition as you might feel reclusive from the whole world. Give yourself time and remember the following suggestions:
- Whenever you feel like quitting studies, recollect all the reasons and aspirations which made you to choose your course. Focus on your ambition and your long-term goals. It will provide you sufficient support to keep you going.
- In every college or university, there are professional student counselors who are assigned to solve these problems. Talk about your concerns with them who will always make the best efforts to resolve them.
- If the reason for your stress and anxiety is bullying and ragging by seniors, then you can complain to the student counselors too. They can also provide you varied advices to overcome harassment.
- Sometimes, the students become stressful due to their poor time management skills. If you start maintaining a routine (obviously keep the Sunday aside for your own), you can avoid the substantial stress of your everyday life.
- Many a times, the students choose a wrong course for themselves which makes their life more miserable. If you feel that your passion is somewhere else, then have a chat with the career counselors and take their opinion. But do not rush in to any decisions.
These suggestions can help you immensely if you are thinking to leave your studies. Always remember that opting out of the course will kill your aspiration which was once your dream. Your career is important not only to you but for your parents, family and definitely for your country.
Always remember one thing: a student’s life is the best part of the life. Do not waste by getting stressed or thinking more about the negative parts of being a student. Rather emphasize on practicing all the tips and suggestions and ensure yourself a stress-free academic life.
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