Are you making the grade when it comes to handling the stress of campus life? From grades to test scores, academic stress, scholarship pressures, student loan stress, increased responsibilities, time management, changes in sleeping & eating habits, peer & social pressures, financial worries, and the list certainly does not stop here. So the stress of campus life as a student is not always made out as it seems to be
In fact, how many movies have been made about the joys of joining campus life at university or college? It’s so easy to naturally assume these movies are a fun representation of how it is in reality. Mixing with like-minded individuals sounds amazing. The freedom of living away from home, the parties and love interests, learning, and expanding horizons. This all sounds great, doesn’t it ? The realities of the stress of campus life certainly seems to be in another movie script altogether.
The truth is, for so many, this dramatic change of lifestyle at such a critical point in one’s life can be quite overwhelming.
These significant transition changes can certainly set off or even re-trigger many individual stressors. The idea of mixing with like-minded individuals can be quite intimidating to some people. It may present them with the first opportunity they’ve ever had to truly explore and express their identity, their social values, ideological beliefs, political orientations & the stress of relationships both personal & professional.
Similarly, the freedom of living away from home can present its own challenges.
Organizing your own budget, your own time management & scheduling, shopping, cleaning, socializing, and the list goes on. This can be a very daunting scenario for someone who has never had to manage these important activities before.
Many students on campus have to manage their nutritional needs and it is only a very short step to the easiest access of a vast range of online junk food, or less healthy options. Even the campus meal programs may be a challenge if a mindset of healthy choices is not an ongoing practice within your daily lifestyle & habits. The implementation of prior nutritional education may certainly fall by the wayside when fitting into new social habits & behaviors
Some may thrive on the social scene on campus. For others, the raucous lifestyle might be the polar opposite of what their background suggests is the proper way to live. This is a sure recipe for the making of a very uncomfortable living experience. These types of scenarios are certainly an onramp to the stress highway, and it takes a real strength of character to keep true to one’s values. The stress of campus life will certainly bring up many emotions, and if not kept in check, may form long-lasting habits & behaviors
Equally, the opportunity to learn and expand your horizons can be met with uncertainty & apprehension. What’s the right course to be studying? What clubs and organizations should I join? How can I best create the course that meets my goals in life?
Everybody has their own set of qualities and reacts in their own unique way to any given circumstance. It’s inevitable that a shift in dynamics so profound as living on campus for the first time will cause a significant amount of stress for most people.
So how should we be approaching the stress of campus life?
Many of us may decide to make decisions based on a fairly broad interpretation of our life experiences, and our way of understanding our own unique life journeys. Often, stress comes from the way we react to unfamiliar situations, usually when it doesn’t comply with how we intuitively feel that situation should play out.
This can make us feel frustrated, nervous, and angry, and often leads us to make rash, impulsive or indecisive decisions. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this sensation of stress is often a natural way to deal with pressing situations. Stress can be beneficial at times like when it drives you to meet that deadline or avoid impending danger! However, stress is certainly not needed 24/7 driving all our actions or decision making
Nourishment Vitality suggests approaching the stress of campus life by focusing on what is right for you & your lifestyle. By developing your thought awareness, you will become more understanding of your true intentions. Become aware of the actions that provoke your emotions. Let go of, and don’t get trapped with behaviors that no longer serve you.
How can the stress of campus life be affecting me?
Stress can manifest itself through physical and psychological symptoms. Constant stress carries many consequences. These include, high blood pressure, headaches, indigestion, lack of appetite regulation, bad sleeping patterns, mood swings, brain fog, lack of focus, social withdrawal, and much, much more. In essence, you are leaving money on the table if you are not maximizing your potential & opportunities at this stage of your education journey.
These emotional symptoms can sometimes be very difficult to deal with, especially when you may be alone or with a limited support system. Depression and anxiety, coupled with unhealthy habits can easily spiral into more difficult-to-change situations.
If you’ve just moved from home to start your new life on campus, or if you’re thinking about going to college or university, it’s important to recognize these themes & principles. By understanding how to deal with what makes you stressed-out, may certainly give you further insights, correct tools & strategies for dealing with the stress on campus
Why Does Stress Affect Me?
Firstly, you’re not alone when it comes to stress. The American Institute of Stress reports that about a 1/3 of the US population feel extreme stress and ¾ of those experience levels that affect their physical and mental health. The American Psychological Association (APA) found that the highest levels of stress found in the US is in those aged between 18 and 33. Millennials have grown up in a fast-changing world with new technology and more demands on them than ever before. It’s no wonder they’re stressed. And stress levels worldwide are only getting worse in a world that appears to be caught up in an epidemic of stress-related health concerns.
We all experience stress in one way or another.
Stress is a built-in way of dealing with our circumstances. As mentioned above, stress is exactly what’s needed in some situations e.g. meeting that deadline or avoiding impending danger. It’s our brain’s natural response to dealing with information, & sometimes there’s simply too much information to deal with, and our mind resorts to ‘shortcuts.’
However, we must be aware as our brains do not differentiate between a real and an imagined threat. Our brains respond in the same way to the perceived threat (real or imagined) . This is one of the leading causes for us to be living in a state of stress when it may not necessarily be required or be the reality.
Taking a reality check can make a huge difference in our state of mind.
It is so important to slow down and objectively ask yourself ‘what is real or what is perceived’, & reassigning values to where it matters most. Identifying & understanding the cause & effect factors of your daily routines and challenges, allows you to lift the weight of stress, feel empowered, & recognize your own individual stressors before they take over and ruin your day.
With time and practice, you can learn to recognize when this is happening and control your methods of dealing with it. It might seem like a big ask. However the benefits of leading a relatively stress-free life far outweigh the effort needed to deal with the obstacles our minds create every day.
What are my Next Steps to Manage the Stress of Campus Life?
The stress of college life is nothing new. The modern concept of the university or college has been in existence for a thousand years. For a thousand years, young people have had to endure all the upheaval of leaving their families, friends, and familiarities, while making their way in a new, unbridled, and unknown world. Don’t doubt for a second that there aren’t mechanisms in place to help people deal with this emotional upheaval.
Clearly, stress is a major issue on campus, with 1 out of every 2 students feeling the effect of stress and looking for a solution. The stress of being stressed is often enough to cope with in itself. However the possible consequences for your health means that this is something that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.
Thankfully, there are solutions.
There are platforms & forums that understand how to best deal with these issues. It will involve some effort on your part. This first step will set you on the path to a more stress-free life and allow you to enjoy what should be the best years of your life.
It often seems that there is no solution and a constant gray cloud on the horizon, but help can be at hand. By becoming aware of the issues you are defining a new beginning. Awareness is always the first step. You can now be proactive in the start of a new phase or journey in your life. You can start to see the sun peek through those clouds.
Nourishment Vitality’s education platform offers online courses to help with stress , anxiety & holistic weight management
These courses are taught through micro-learning video lessons. The courses are designed to help you establish a first line of defense to take back some level of responsibility for your health into your own hands. The courses offer correct coping skills, tools, and strategies to build healthier habits and live a healthier lifestyle.
- Nourishment Vitality’s health education programs follow a shame-free cutting-edge approach that are grounded in smart science & results-driven strategies.
- Our multi-media platform includes videos, audios, PDFs, informative handouts & prompts, and more.
- Our structured approach is to designed to achieve sustainable transformation and change
Whether you are looking for unique or personalized guidance, online video courses that you can work through at your own pace and in your own space, or you are looking for group workshops or group masterclasses with best practices for your teams or communities
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