We spend much of the beginning of our life in school, whether we go to a public, private or homeschool, for most of us what we learn and experience during our time in school is meant to help us for when we go out into the big wide world. But during those last few years, we tend to hear more and more questions asking about our future and what we plan on doing with our lives once we graduate from school. (which least to say these next few years are one of the most defining years in our life where we get to decide what we want to do with our lives but enough of that). Some people choose to opt for a job right out of high school giving them a better understanding of the world around them and what it takes to be self-sufficient. For others sometimes, their jobs have already been semi-decided for them such as running the family business or farm. But for me along with some heavily influencing from my parents, my next step was to apply, attend and graduate college. Coming into college it’s no big secret that transitioning to the college life can be a task for freshman college students since it requires them to take charge in their life. Within the recent years, the mental health or these college students has slowly been on the rise with more and more students and staff showing concern for the students, and what action certain colleges have taken to support their student’s efforts in their careers.
The Idea of Stress and College The first thing many people can construe at times is the idea of stress and what it is. In its most basic form stress is defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.. When it comes to college the people who are found most susceptible to the effects of stress are Freshman. Over the year’s studies of college students overall mental health have shown a large number of students that struggle with the high demands of college, with freshman being the highest number of them all, because of this the emotional health of freshman by itself has reached an all-time ranking low for colleges with some new freshman students dropping out within the first year of attending college. With this in mind for many new students, there has been an increasing concern for students and their mental health during their time in college. Ever since this was announced researchers have put an effort as to figure out what the health of many new students is in such a bad state. During the study, some students have suggested the cause is because of their economic status and not wanting to seem like a big expense for their parents.
Others have suggested it being the extended time away from home and parents that play a role on the students stress but the most conclusive result from the studies was that students were sacrificing their own emotional health as in an attempt to increase their drive and motivation to succeed in school to achieve high grades and to secure a better job in the future. Three quarters or freshman students rated their academic drive as above average compared to their classmates and it has been noted that in the past few years a student will to learn has been ranked higher than it’s ever been. Although this whole academics over mental health may seem like a noble cause, neglecting the active conditions of your emotional status can create its own set of issues and if left under stress for extended periods of time the effects of stress can easily turn into a more serious issue for students. Effects of Stress No matter how stressed we can feel at times, chances are we don’t feel the same kind of stress that others might experience. As ironic as it seems it turns out we know more about the idea of stress and its causes more than we know how to accurately perceive and measure other people’s stress. When we do come under pressure with the strain of stress our bodies and minds change as to adapt to the new circumstances.
We can split these symptoms up into four groups. The first is cognitive. In our mind when we are stressed we tend to think more irrational focusing more or short-term solutions to a problem rather than taking into account potential long-term fixes. Things such as memory problems, constant worrying, and an inability to concentrate are all related to our cognitive branch. The next is emotional when we’re stressed we have an increased chance to become depressed, we also can feel a sense of loneliness and or isolation from others. We also have a higher risk of developing anxiety and an overall increase in moodiness and irritability towards others. The third category is behavioral symptoms. Changes in our eating habits can start to happen with many people finding themselves eating far too much or going in the complete opposite end of the spectrum where someone might be eating far too little, the same goes for a person sleep schedule and how much sleep they get. People who are stressed have also been found to have a higher chance to be found procrastinating and putting off work. Last is the physical symptoms when exposed to stress. Our immune system becomes weakened meaning we have increased chance of becoming sick, our heart rate and blood pressure increases making us more alert and attentive to details. Headaches, stomach aches, dizziness, and overall aches and pains have also been found to have an increased chance to occur with stress. Good and Bad Stress Although as bad as stress may seem there can be such as a thing called good stress.
Good stress or also called to (Enhancing Stress) is perceived as being a beneficial and motivating force, positive stress is a temporary short-term stressor that helps by increasing the body’s strength and motivation in things such as exercising, any periods of excitement, creativity and or providing inspiration for someone to finish a project or task (such as this one) and it can boost critical thinking as well. Bad stress or also referred in some papers as (Debilitating Stress) which we talked about before, this is the stress we’re most subjective too and by far is the most popular type of stress, also making it the one we know the best as well. Negative stress causes all that bad stuff we talked about earlier with examples such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and an overall unhappiness makes it impossible for the body to return to a relaxed state when the stressors are still present. Least to say most of the time when stress comes to mind, most people including myself will think of stress within a negative context. Things such as not having enough time, overworking, and becoming burnt out are all things we’ve experienced because of stress, and although we may not enjoy being stressed out there are reasons why we act this way.
The true intentions of stress is to prepare us for what is to come and because of this, the idea of stress has been typically associated with the fight or flight response (which is why we physically react to stress in those certain we talked about earlier). Overall stress as a whole is a strong emotion if that’s what you’d call it. It has the ability to improve or delude us and has been a fierce for many college students. One of the most important things for a person to figure out is to find the right balance of good and bad stress in their lives. How to Coper and Resolve Stress Now with all these potential issues that can arise from stress, it can become important to know where exactly you stand when it comes to stress. Everyone has their own limit and knowing when you’re close to that limit and what you can to reduce your current stress along with keeping yourself from going insane is key when going through college. One of the most obvious yet overlooked ways of handling your stress has been found that simply take care of yourself and meeting your body’s needs can significantly reduce the levels of stress you could be having. Examples such as eating a healthy well-balanced meal, exercising on a regular basis, getting plenty of sleep and giving yourself a break every once in a while, can help you release some of that built up tension in your body.
Giving your mind and body a break from the stress you’re feeling can be crucial and doing activities that can distract you from whatever is causing you the stress has been found helpful as well. Most colleges have some form of support system available on campus for their students. For example, over the years the health and wellness center has made an effort to create and or improve options for students to seek relief from their college classes and assignments, one of which is the relaxation room dedicated to students who need a special area to take their mind off of their work so they can relax in a variety of ways. They also have counselors on campus that are available to talk about a student’s issues without fear of judgment or criticism. From time to time there’ll also be on-campus events and activities that are specifically directed towards stressed students, especially during their midterms and finals week. Events such as massages on Fridays (Feel good Fridays), therapeutic dogs and yoga classes are all directed towards students to help relieve them of their tension and stress from college.
Closing The idea of college and going to a new place with new people to learn new things is what people look for when they attend, and it can be a great place to find yourself along with others. College opens up new opportunities and along with that comes the college assignments and work everyone so desperately loves. College challenges students to take their lives into their own hands and take charge in their own responsibilities resulting in an increase of work and dedication in their lives. For many freshmen this can be a scary experience and stress is much likely going to be a part of it making it important to know what stress is, what effects it can have mentally and physically and most of all how to resolve it. College is a time of change and preparation and there’s no set guidelines or no set boundaries we can’t try to achieve, and what we do during our time in college is what we make of it.
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