New school year brings new stress

By Justin Burns, Staff Writer

Students in college begin to have more and more work to do. While sometimes this is due to their own procrastination, there also is an increase in work in each new school, from high school to college for instance. Having a lot of homework, along with physically being in class, having a social life, and having a job can be a lot for people.

Just as we, as humans, have best friends, so does stress. Its name is anxiety, and he is awful. Anxiety comes in, and doubts everything that you have been working on. “Is this worthy of an A? Will it keep your grade up?” While a little of it is good, that mentality will keep you cooped up on one project for far longer than you should be. Of course you should double check everything and make sure that you did a good job, but trust in yourself.

Everyone has experienced stress, maybe not relating to school but in some way everyone has. It’s that slow growing, ever encompassing thought that stays with you all while you do something. It can cripple you down to only think about that one thing, making everything else obsolete. So why do we do it?

Some people just don’t stress over their projects and homework, it is an amazing feat. The stress that most college students face, can be a result of two things. One of these could be that you care about the grade you get on this project, or that it needs to be good for you to pass. These two reasons are clumped into the category of “grades.”

A second reason, is that of “time.” Time constantly fights against us, and when we start to run out of time, stress begins to win. Whether you don’t have enough time to complete the assignment because of work, or there is too much to do, time is a possibility as to why a student could be stressing.

According to the American Psychology Association, 61% of college students started to seek counseling for anxiety, and 45% also sought help with stress. Many college students face these issues, and as such there needs to be some ways in fixing this problem.

There are medications for anxiety, however since this is dealing with college students, we’ll say that there is a limited budget. We shall limit that amount at $20 for a week, which at some universities is a lot to have per week. The following is a step by step process to tackling school work and to limit your amount of stress.

The first thing you should do, is take that $20 and put it in a mason jar. Put it near your work space, but never in arms length of your computer or notebook. Within eye shot, but not reach.

Now, write out a list of all the assignment you have to do, in a check list style. Organize them by due date, and for those that lay on the same day do the ones that are due the earliest first. Then, every time you sit down to work, do what is on top of your list first.

This should go without saying, but as college students everyone procrastinates. Don’t do that. Try to start as soon as you hear about the assignment, or if you see that is coming up on your syllabus try to get a head start if you can. Being proactive will give less time for stress to grow. Always assume you will need more time than you think you will. It will allow for down time later.

Having some way to drown out the world around you and focus on your work is not essential, but it is very helpful. I recommend music, however not the music that you might find on the radio. There are studying playlists, ambient music, or even just calming instrumentals that can be put on in the background while you work. Nothing too loud or poppy that every other song you stop working and start singing or dancing. Just something to have on to encompass your thoughts, and stop outside forces from prodding in and disrupting your thought.

Once you have your list and start going down it, if you get stuck or frustrated on something then it is okay to take a quick break. For example, if you are working on an excel document and can’t seem to get an equation to work quite right, it is okay to go take a fifteen minute walk and come back to it. I know walking isn’t everyone’s thing, but do something similar. Do not go on YouTube, Netflix, or play video games. That starts with, “I’ll, watch or play, one then get back to work,” but that never just ends at one. I find it nice to walk, or go talk with a friend for a little bit and come back to work with a fresh mind.

Once the mind is cleared and you get back to work, the next step is to complete one of the assignments. This might not happen in one night, and if you have to repeat the step above a few times that is okay, but do not use it as an excuse to not be working on it. Being honest with yourself is a very crucial part of relieving stress.

Once you have one assignment, or assignments if multiple are due the following day, done, do something relatively relaxing. If you have followed the aforementioned steps, then you should be on schedule and have time to relax a little, even if just for a moment. The extra time you set up for the assignments, if it wasn’t used for them, is now some free time. Do something fun or, if you are like most college students, catch up on some much needed sleep.

Continue this process, judging when to have free time with how many days you have until the next big assignment is due. An assignment may also be replaced with studying, if instead of projects, many tests are coming up.

The final thing that you must remember when pacing these projects is that once one of them is done, it’s done. Always look over your work, but once it is turned it, it’s over. Do not worry about what you could have done, you still turned in something and you should be proud.

It is a rather somber note to think on, the fact that there is nothing you can do to change what you have turned it, but it is true. You did it, you succeeded in turning in your near 2,000 word essay on time. That is an impressive essay, and you should be proud of your work.

Remember there was a budget to this. Now, with that $20 you have, go out to dinner with some friends, go buy that book you’ve been eyeing for a few weeks, do something fun. Enjoy yourself, because now is a time to celebrate.

The grades are out of your hands, and with nothing else to work on it is time to relax. Relaxing after a stressful period, even if you didn’t feel stressed, is important for your body. Think of it like adrenaline, when your body gets so much energy it tires out when it’s all gone. You use all of this energy to fight off stress and to focus on your work, so afterwards rest will be needed.

Rest can come in many forms. For some it is a literal sense, sleeping. Others it can be doing the things that you were previously not allowed to do, like watching Netflix or playing video games. Take whatever it is that you like to do and do it, even if it is just for a day. School can be stressful, but hopefully all college students can learn and make it less stressful by not doing what every single one of us does, procrastinate and stress.