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Stress in College


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It wasn’t but just a few years ago I myself was someone that was looking forward to going to college. All that I had ever heard were the good things that college provided and how fun it can be. It was only a few weeks after I had started that I began to see how stressful college was going to be. Through my personal experience, observation and conversing with others I then realized how big of a factor that “stress” is in college. Stress is something that can literally beat you up physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically.
When people start to think about college, lots of the time stress is something that is overlooked. A lot of people soon find out that stress will overwhelm you if not dealt with properly. It’s not surprising that college is a huge jump and a big life change. I have found that some of the hardest things to deal with in college are friendships, independent living, life situations and self-doubt. These are only a few of the stressors that people run into, but these seem to be some of the major stressors. Not to mention that all these stressors can lead to illness and disease. All of the mental and physical problems that stress can cause are unbelievable. For example, 16% of 20-24 year olds are hypertensive which relates to apoplexy that can be caused by stress. “Cardiovascular disorders, of which apoplexy is one, kill more Americans each year than any other disease” (Bakris 2007). This shows that stress does not discriminate and that it is everywhere. Coming to college and especially a new one is very hard because you’re leaving your whole support structure behind. For me this was about the time that I realized how big of a change college was going to be and how much stress I was going to encounter. What it comes down to is it’s going to be up to us as individuals to create new social networks and understand life as a whole. Often times this is when self-doubt, fear and rejection start to kick in. A study that I recently read; Thought Control of Actions: Interfering Self-Doubts, showed me how self-doubt is something that will interfere with your thought control and how you act and perceive things. “Personal resource beliefs or (perceived self-efficacy) lead to a person’s capability to perform a behavior that leads to a desired outcome” (Shwarzer 1996). When you doubt your own self, there’s always a voice in the back of your head telling you that you won’t succeed. I have found that this is when frustration begins to occur, your fears start to pile up and cause you to miss opportunities that it turn leads to more stress. As your stress continues to build up mental inhibition starts to occur. In another article; Defense Mechanisms: Denial, the term denial was defined as “an outright refusal to admit or recognize something has occurred or is currently occurring “(Cherry, 2005). Stress causes denial and almost makes it impossible to face reality or admit the truth. If you continue to use denial you’re going to cause repression to occur. This is where you try to keep your stress out of your conscious awareness, and eventually you could even disconnect yourself from society. Stress is everywhere and ever continuous. You’ll have to come up with a plan to change and take control of your life or its going to be a continuous struggle.
It wasn’t until one day that I said to myself I’m going to change how I perceive my stressful events and maybe use some of them to my advantage. From that day forward I have been eliminating stress out of my everyday life due to a changed mindset and my learned abilities to use some stress to my advantage. The hardiness theory is something that really has helped me out with my stress. First you have to realize and know what stressors you can use to your advantage. Then you will be able to make plans to use stress to challenge yourself. With this said we need to have the confidence in ourselves to be able to forgive ourselves from the past stressful events and how that we were effected by them. Focusing on the future instead of the past helps to strengthen yourself and gives you more of a self-trust. “With confidence in yourself obstacles turn into challenges and challenges into accomplishments” (Greenberg 99). Try to see changes and obstacles as an opportunity. If you’re able to start to see stressors as opportunities and challenges to improve, you’re really contributing to yourself. In Simma Lieberman’s article, Self- Doubt and Fear, he emphasized that if you can utilize your stress and turn bad into good,

STRESS IN COLLEGE STUDENTS you will feel better about yourself. “Turn destructive self-talk into constructive self-talk” (Lieberman, 2001). Another way to cope with stress is to realize that you’re not perfect. It’s great to challenge yourself, but understanding that it is okay to fail is crucial when it comes to dealing with stress. Failing at certain things happens, and often times you’re able to grow and learn from what went wrong. Stress in college is something that’s going to happen whether you like it or not. Often times you won’t even see it coming and trying to predict the outcomes of things is sometimes impossible. “What I will be in the next moment, and what I will do, grows out of that moment and cannot be predicted in advance neither by me or by others” (Rogers 188) In my experiences in college, dealing with stress has been extremely tough. Lots of stress can be dealt with and eventually removed from your life. Sometimes the best thing to do is to use stress to your own benefit. In the Greenberg text it says we need to recognize our own strengths and weaknesses. If you can do this; you’re already helping yourself. For college students stress can overwhelm you and sometimes just be too much. We should try to manage our stress and not let it build up on us. Some of the best things that I have found that help me are: being self-aware of myself, using stress as a challenge, and excepting that I’m always going to have to deal with stress. Stress in college is hard and often times becomes too much for people. It’s hard to say but stress is and always will be everywhere. Hopefully in time to come people will realize this and find ways to benefit and help themselves in the struggle with stress.

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