Though a goal for most individuals and a requirement for many career paths, going to college comes with a lot of challenges. Many hear college and think about wild parties, sports, independence, freedom, and diversity, but that’s only part of the “college experience”. As many who enroll end up finding out is that it’s often very stressful to obtain a degree. Sure, there are millions of individuals who have navigated the complex waters of a higher education without too much cause for concern, others take a route that can have a negative impact on them forever.

Common Stressors for College Students

You’re out of your parent’s house, living the campus life, meeting new people, having fun, and chasing your dreams of becoming whatever you want in life. What could possibly be wrong? Here is a brief look at some of the stressors for college students:

  • Maintaining academic success – no one wants to go to college to fail. The idea is to get the education and training you need to pursue a career you’re passionate about. However, the academic workload is a lot larger and complex in nature. You don’t have the backing of your parents to stay on top of you and so the sole responsibility of getting good grades and obtaining a degree falls on you.

  • Building new relationships – high school helps you to discover the basics of who you are, but it is during your years in college that you’ll learn on a deeper level. Building new relationships and fitting in amongst a diverse set of individuals while also balancing your academic success can also be stressful.

  • Managing finances – likely the biggest issue that college students have is managing their finances. Higher education isn’t cheap and unless you can be approved for financial assistance or receive a scholarship, you’ll be on a pretty tight budget over the next few years. Many students struggle to get by sometimes unable to buy the supplies they need for school, housing, food, and other necessities.

Unhealthy Ways of Coping

As you can see, young adults who attend college deal with a lot to obtain a higher education. Though each of these stressors can be reduced, many turn to the wrong resources and behaviors as a means of coping with the stress.

  • Relying on Drugs- More and more, students are turning to prescription medications as a way to cope with the stress of college. A demanding school schedule, for example, might convince a student to use prescription meds for ADHD to focus or sleeping pills to tire themselves out after a long day. This can quickly turn into an addiction that requires them to enter a sobriety program to get better.

  • Gambling – A terrible behavior that can develop from the stress of going to college is gambling. In fact, there have been reports that there is an increase in online gambling among college students. Likely wanting to make a few extra bucks to handle their expenses or simply as a means of release, gambling too often can take away from their studies and make their finances worse.

  • “Giving Up” – When you feel backed in a corner and you’re constantly worried about your grades, the bills, and fitting in with your peers, it can take a serious toll on your ability to push past the stressors. Some college students seemingly “give up” and fall into bad habits. Not turning in assignments on time, going to every social event or party, trying every drug, spending money recklessly, and a host of other things. It feels good at first to not care and give up, but in the end, it simply adds to the stress.

Better Ways to Deal with Student Stress

If you’ve been overwhelmed by the stress of being a college student you’re not alone. If you’re struggling with depression, substance abuse, or gambling problems you need to find a rehab and therapy center with free detox options. If you have not reached these extremes, but still need help coping with stress as a young adult, here is some advice:

  • Create a budget to manage your finances.

  • Find study buddies or get a tutor to help you with classes you’re struggling in.

  • Maintain your schedule with the use of alarms, calendars, and reminders from your smartphone.

  • Find a balance between developing a social life and keeping up your grades

  • Remain in good health by eating a nutritious diet, working out regularly, and getting a solid 8 hours of sleep each night.

There’s a lot to be expected when you start your college career. Though what stands out are the depictions of fraternities, sororities, parties, hangovers, and cram sessions, there’s a lot more to the whole college experience. The best way to ensure you can handle the stress is to come up with a plan that includes many of the tips listed above. If you find yourself having a hard time still, reach out to others for help as opposed to making decisions that will only make matters worse. Eventually, you’ll learn to adjust and can complete your studies.

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