Where to Draw the Line: Dealing with Stress in College

It is without a doubt that being a college student entails a lot of responsibility. From the load of homework we bring upon ourselves to the extra tasks we take on such as extracurricular activities and a job, being a college student is a job by itself. Day by day, going through the same routine gets harder and harder as you physically and mentally want to shut down; but the only thing that keeps you going is the finish line, that last semester right before you graduate where you will finally receive your diploma. The idea that “I need to graduate no matter what it takes” is a common ideology among dedicated college students whether your parents have money to send you to college or you have to work two jobs in order to stay enrolled. Dedication, jobs, and other activities aside, it is important for students to know their limits and where to draw the line between being a dedicated student and putting too much pressure on oneself.

The most common experience college students go through throughout their educational career is stress. In relation to a higher education, stress is the result of multiple college experiences and situations. From peer pressure to the amount of school work we receive, stress is a major problem for college students across the United States. According to stressdemolisher.com, 80% of college students state that every now and then they experience daily stress. Daily stress can come in the form of the extra paper the professor assigned or even the desire to be socially accepted amongst your colleagues so one doesn’t feel alone. Above all else, it’s that drive to not fail our classes that prepare us for our future, the parents that are investing their own money to send us to college, and more importantly, ourselves, that keep college students under the pressure to finish college strong. But even with the daily stress that college students go through, knowing your own limit and where to draw that line is paramount in order to be successful.

As a college student, it’s easy to get sucked into the social norms of dedicating your life to your education. Each day I find myself as a student wondering if my studies have become the most important factor in my life. Have I drawn a clear line as to where my dedication to school exceeds other responsibilities and my own comfort zone? Pensive about my own life, I still continue to stress about attaining straight A’s but at the same time not being looked upon as uncool because of my “perfectionist” view about college. Even with my own insecurities about my educational direction, I know never to lose myself in the process. Building on social, educational, and organizational strategies assist me in not becoming stressed to the point of self-destruction. When I have piles of homework I have to complete in a short amount of time, I use a planner to write everything down neatly to form a schedule which mentally saves me from destructing. In addition, I try to take breaks and eat so I won’t physically break down. I’ll also sometimes study with classmates so we can bask in our stress together and find relief with encouraging words and hopefully a finished assignment. With these different strategies, the outcome is always one of physical, social and mental contentment.

If nothing is taught to you through the hands-on experience of being stressed in college, one thing you can gain from the college experience is that all students have our unique way of handling our individual situations. Speaking to your advisor or the school psychiatrist will never change that factor. But beneath all that, the question still remains: Where do we draw this line? The separation between dedication and stress? Social acceptance and overwhelming despondency? It’s wherever you feel comfortable. Although you should never settle less than your own personal goals, your own physical and mental health comes before any inflicted pressure to become successful.