University is a drastic change for many students to handle. It is similar to being thrown into a new world and having to learn a new culture, which can be overwhelming. University students are often subjected to mass amounts of stress, impacting their mental and physical health. Stress can come from a student’s inability to: develop adequate coping skills, maintain a healthy sleeping schedule, and find a balance between social, vocational, and educational commitments.
To reduce stress, students inevitably develop coping strategies, the success of which depends on how beneficial they are in accomplishing the students’ duties. I have found study groups to be extremely beneficial. University can be increasingly hard on students because of a perceived lack of support systems (Reeve, Shumaker, Yearwood, Crowell, & Riley, 2013). Study groups allow me to connect with other students while keeping me focused on my schoolwork. However, not all coping mechanisms are beneficial; when stress peaks I occasionally turn to drinking for relief. The increasing prevalence of drinking being used as a coping strategy among first year students can be worrying because of its negative impacts (Reeve et al., 2013). Drinking may provide momentary relief but it does not enable me to accomplish the task causing me stress.
Stress often leads to fatigue but developing a proper sleep schedule can help students eliminate fatigue and subsequently reduce stress levels. I find that when stress levels increase, my ability to get an adequate amount of sleep drastically decreases. It can be hard to find time or a place to decompress while stressed. Despite the difficulty, finding a place to escape from the stress imposed from the school environment is of paramount importance (Klainberg, Ewing, & Ryan, 2010). When you find a place that encourages relaxation it enables you to calm your mind, increasing your ability to fall asleep and return to a normal sleeping pattern.
As a university student, a key to overcoming stress is balancing commitments. Creating to-do lists helps me see what I have going on the next day. It is overwhelming at times because I work twice a week, go to the gym, and have social commitments to my friends and clubs. By changing the way students view their commitments from negative to positive, they are able to become proactive about their health and own well-being (Klainberg, Ewing, & Ryan, 2010). Utilizing various coping mechanisms and social support, students can develop a healthy balanced lifestyle (Reeve, Shumaker, Yearwood, Crowell, & Riley, 2013). It is essential that students train themselves to have a positive mindset not just to find balance, but also tools for success. Positive mindsets allow us to see our responsibilities not as being burdensome, but rather as opportunities to improve ourselves.
University is a completely new environment to be subjected to and many students find themselves struggling to adapt to the changes they encounter. Insufficiently adapting can cause stress that has an ability to negatively affect overall health. Stress can be attributed to students’ inadequacy to: develop proper habits to handle assignments, find a healthy yet productive sleep pattern, and establish unity between personal, school and work undertakings. To be successful throughout university and life it is imperative that people develop methods for managing stress and balancing the many commitments they may have.