Surviving stress in university environment

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BY MICHAEL PROMES

There is an entity that every college student suffers from, a pandemic of sorts. It looms in the early days of each semester and slowly builds until it inevitably overcomes them. I am, of course, referring to stress. Stress is different for everyone. It can be mild, keeping a student busy. It can be challenging, forcing students to really apply themselves. Stress can also be completely overwhelming, forcing students to make dire sacrifices of sleep, food or fun. Chances are most SDSU students are feeling its effects already. With new classes, new challenges and new activities, it is easy to get overscheduled and overwhelmed. Some students also have to juggle a job in order to pay for expenses including continuing their education. A majority of students feel the effects of stress on a day-to-day basis including Stephanie Hanson, a sophomore pharmacy student.

Hanson explains, “The most stressful part of college is trying to manage a job, school, and friends.”

She is also hoping to get more involved in groups and clubs, which may add even more stress to her life.

Being a busy, hardworking student with classes, activities, a job and hopes for more of a social life, I have been working to reduce my stress levels so I feel better and have more energy to take on the day. First, a little about stress: Stress can actually cause damage to your body, even your heart. Stress suppresses the immune system, making people more susceptible to illness, disease and even cancer. It can change one’s mood and cause people to be more pessimistic—and let’s face it, everybody wants to be happy! Things that I have tried to reduce my stress levels include: attempting to have a more balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep my energy levels up. Exercising, which releases endorphins in the body that suppress pain and make a person feel better. I also like taking some time to just relax. Taking the time to do something that you enjoy will help direct your attention away from whatever is stressing you and, in a sense, recharge your batteries. If you are short on time, try to dedicate just a few minutes to sitting down, taking some deep breaths and relaxing. However, if you’re really desperate for immediate stress relief, try eating dark chocolate. According to the National Academy of Science, “dark chocolate contains about 300 natural health-boosting compounds including several agents that make you feel alert and happier.” However you manage your stress, take time to do so in a healthy and effective manner.

The purpose of college is not simply to gain knowledge about one’s respective major; it is about learning to survive on one’s own and learning how to function in an ever-changing world, this includes managing stress. The college experience is a rush. It is stressful at times, but the rewards of meeting people, having fun and attaining a more advanced education are priceless. Keep those stress levels in check, so that you can make the most of your college experience this semester.