Growing Up: How to cope with the stress of college

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

Everyone has to deal with stress on a daily basis, but for students going to college for the first time, it may become too much to handle.

Mental Health Counselor Deb Johnson said that the situations that cause students stress in their first semester at school sometimes follow a predictable pattern.

One of the first things that may create stress for students when they come to school in September is homesickness.

“Part of homesickness is normal because your trying to go back to the old routine. You also don’t have a support system when you come here readily available,” she said.

Students may also feel a sense of abandonment from their parents, and they have to make tough choices where their parents were involved before.

“Where your parents used to set the guidelines, you are now in charge of setting those.”

As students get further into the school year, they may question their place there.

“That might happen with someone who was well known in high school, and then they get here and there’s no readily available peer group or recognition for who they are. They’re starting all over and having to prove who they are.”

When students experience excessive stress, physical symptoms may appear.

The Student Health Center offers many services that are already paid for by student fees, like individual sessions with counselors or group sessions.

“One of the most important things students can do by themselves is to make sure they get enough sleep,” Johnson said.

Students should also strive to have good nutrition, be relaxed, plan for the unexpected, don’t overcommit themselves, and exercise, set priorities and get help when they need it.

“Stress is present in our lives no matter where we are, and too much is dangerous for us, and too little can make us apathetic or bored. So having the right amount of stress is actually healthy because stress can be positive if it drives you set and meet reasonable goals, like getting your dream job, or moving to someplace you really want to live in.”