Students are, according to statistics and according to ourselves, extremely stressed and always have been. And why shouldn’t we be?
College is a pivotal, pressing event. We must give up everything we have known: our homes, our families, our friends, essentially everything we have grown deeply familiar with for the chance to inflict change in our future.
Not only is this a difficult transition, but it is incredibly difficult to actually stay afloat in the college world where a kaleidoscope of pressures pin us down at every turn until we cannot breathe anymore.
As emerging adults, our questions range from how to do laundry and taxes, to how to actually study for an exam (because our old high school winging it methods do not work). This is coupled with the pressure to go out and actually savor college experiences with our friends while also keeping in mind the importance bolstering our resumes via clubs, organizations, internships and volunteering.
The balance is easily broken; hence, the high numbers of anxiety.
Anxiety is, like most things, different for everyone. For some it is ongoing and treacherous, and for others it is more of a constant voice giving examples of everything that could possibly go wrong.
It is pervasive. It is cruel. It will dredge itself into your thoughts and make every task that should be simple become painful.
There is no magic solution to it. But there are ways to cope with it, and you may find there are some that work for you and some that just do not. This is okay. But it brings me to my first and most important step in dealing with stress and anxiety: Do not ignore it.
It is easy to write anxiety off and to become so induced with the pressures of life that we simply forget to rest and make sure we are breathing okay. But ignoring our fears will not make them disappear.
Acknowledge the anxiety and do not be afraid to ask for help; it is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of maturity and conscientiousness.
We should also actually reach out to people.
Although it may seem intimidating (and anxiety-inducing), talking to people actually helps. Many students on this campus grapple with anxiety and you may find talking to them about how to cope with it, may not only help you, but will make you feel less alone and anxious.
The Counseling Center on campus is also available and full of people who actually care about the heavy thoughts on your mind. They will listen to you and they will empathize with you.
Anxiety hits us all differently. It is important to consider what exactly is stressing us out and what exactly works the best for us. Take time with yourself. I mean this as both actually going somewhere alone that brings you peace, but also remembering to have patience with yourself.
Life is an arduous process, and we learn along the way.