Life is Hard, and Then There is College by Jaliyah Bryant
For most college students, this time of year is one of the most difficult to cope with. Midterms just ended and students are anxiously waiting for the impending avalanche of final papers and projects right as the holiday season begins. “How will I get this ten page paper done?”, “How am I getting home for Thanksgiving?”, “The dining facilities are closing over break, I’m staying here and have no money to eat! What am I going to do?”
All the stress and madness of the “end of semester blues” can remind people of the popular social media trends that encourage us to take care of our mental health and indulge in self-care. All of that is great, however, no one ever explains exactly how to do it. How do I take care of myself? That can be seen in several ways. Going for a walk, getting a massage, getting your nails done, or maybe even taking a nap. For students, all of these things are nice and relaxing and often take the edge off. But, at the end of the day there is still a pile of syllabi filled with what seems like endless assignments, which ultimately results in more stress.
3 Tips to Manage Your Stress Levels in the Midst of Collegiate Chaos
- Say NO. At a recent women’s conference, one guest speaker, professor Shanza Isom, challenged the mindsets of conference attendees when she said “just because you’re free doesn’t mean you’re available.” “Me time” is such a valuable component in life, especially for a student leader on campus who also has a work-study job, a full load of classes, and is involved in several extracurricular activities. Trust me, I know. It is so hard to fall into a trap while you are enjoying your free time. Someone might get sick, or they are slacking on a job that you normally do so well. DON’T FALL FOR IT! Sometimes it is okay to say no. This is a part of self-care, setting boundaries and knowing when you simply need a break.
- Manage your time wisely. This is a popular self-care tip. You can probably read about in any self-care magazine or textbook on stress management. People often try to stay organized by using a calendar, but then look up and notice that it’s November and their calendar still says “first day of classes.” Some people aren’t good at staying organized which is reasonable, especially for college students who procrastinate on every single assignment. Taking it one day at a time can help. Every day, when you have a little time, write out a schedule for yourself (be specific). What are you going to do from 12:30 to 1:15? What about 1:15 to 1:45? Don’t forget to schedule in your “scroll breaks,” you can’t look at your computer all day, so switch to your phone for five minutes. Creating a tight schedule daily, with breaks implemented, will keep you on track each day.
- Remember, You Aren’t Perfect. Stress can come from various sources like, work, school, friends, family, and sometimes even yourself. We are our own worst critic. As a perfectionist I know that trying to do everything, while also making sure it’s perfect, is one of my main stressors. Of course you want a one hundred on that assignment that took you 3 days to finish, but I promise a 97 or even 87 is great too.
While everyone else is piling on more and more, do yourself a favor and alleviate some of that stress you carry every day.
Be of good cheer, the end of the semester is near!