College is an exciting transition from high school to college. But a majority of students may find it difficult to handle the pressures and the demands. Many factors may lead to students developing stress over the course of their academic careers. Some of these factors include academic pressure, financial obligations, family and friends, and finding time for self-care.
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from events or thoughts that make you frustrated, angry or nervous. Stress is a natural reflex that can be positive in some situations, such as getting out of danger or meeting a deadline. When it is prolonged, however, it can cause symptoms that can cause trouble in your life.
Stress causes many physical and psychological symptoms and often leads to procrastination. Physical symptoms of stress include headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, changes in sex drive, upset stomach and issues with sleep. Psychological symptoms of stress include anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation/focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability and sadness/depression. These symptoms sometimes give way to certain behaviors, including overeating/under eating, angry outbursts, drug/alcohol misuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal and getting less physical activity.
In a research study, students reported that stress and stress-related factors are actively affecting their academic performance. Approximately 32 percent of surveyed students stated that they were suffering academically due to stress. The percentage of college students who seek counseling has increased by 30 percent from 2010 to 2015. Out of these students, 45 percent of them report stress as their reason for seeking counseling services.
Activities such as social clubs, special interest groups and sports may lead to friendships and help ease feelings of loneliness in the first few months of college. A surefire way to manage stress from leaving home to attend college is to go home from time to time. A healthy diet is a crucial aspect of leaving home and beginning college successfully. Sleep is also crucial at improving and maintain high performance in an academic setting, plus it naturally helps alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. Try to engage in some sort of exercise that you enjoy on a regular basis. Physical health can help alleviate mental health struggles that you may be experiencing. Creating a budget can lower financial stress. The local financial departments on college campuses have the tools and resources to help students who may be struggling with this responsibility.
Some students at UMPI shared their own strategies for relieving stress. Kelley McNary said, “I personally do something that requires a lot of physical effort, like work out at the gym. It’s even better when there are other people participating in the physical activity, like at my martial arts class. It allows me to feel productive and reduce stress.”
“I tend to listen to music a lot or watch Netflix. Something to take my mind off things for a while,” Erica Slomienski said.
It is important to stay positive as a college student. Whether it’s from moving away from home for the first time, financial issues and/or academic pressures, develop techniques to cope when stress begins to invade to reduce any negative feelings. Keeping a positive outlook increases well-being and lowers feelings such as depression and anxiety.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by feelings of stress, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional.
On campus, we have counselor Ralph McPherson who is available to help students. He can be reached by phone at (207) 768-9791 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Support Services can be reached at (207) 768-9732 or email@example.com.
Crisis and Counseling Centers Crisis line (local) is also available 24/7 at 1-888-568-1112.
There are also local psychiatric and counseling facilities available in Presque Isle, including the following:
- County Behavioral Medicine (207) 554-2600.
- The Northern Lighthouse Inc. (207) 540-1522.
- Central Aroostook Psychiatric Services (207) 764-9700.