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College Students and Stress

What You Probably Didn’t Know about College Students and Stress

Does the life of college students and stress have anything in common? Stress among college students is not a new thing; the only alarming thing is its prevalence rate. Normal stress can be beneficial to the students but if it exceeds normal range, then it brings in negative effects.

Even though students experience more freedom in college life, the challenges are more compared to high school life. There is a lot to do, decide on, experience and relate with. It can be overwhelming for a college student. That is why stress levels are on the rise among college students.

Stress is therefore a state of physical or emotional tension which arises from thoughts or events that make you angry, nervous or frustrated. Your body and emotions respond when you are threatened with stressful conditions.

Psychological and hormonal changes take place in your body. Stress originates from the Amagydala part of the brain. It then alerts the hypothalamus which triggers the release of some hormones.

Hormones that act during stressful moments

  • Cortisol hormone: The hormone is responsible for the alteration of glucose metabolism and the regulation of blood pressure during times of stress. It triggers a feeling of flight or fight by releasing a lot of energy to your body.
  • Epinephrine: The hormone is commonly known as adrenaline. It increases the activity in your heart and lungs. This leads to high volume of blood flowing to your brain. It makes you aware and awake.

Causes of stress

  1. Lack of good organizational skills.

In college, you have to determine your priorities and assign time for them. Without this, you will end up having uncompleted assignments, missed continuous assessment tests, poor grades and even stress. In college, you do not have parents or bells to remind you when to change from classes or from one activity to the other.

Peer pressure contributes a lot to bad organizational skills where you fail to determine what is important to you as an individual. When this happens you may start going with the flow and forget about yourself. The danger is that any your peers will seldom remind you to be responsible. They continue with their lives as you lose yours. Self-awareness is important to avoid this.


  1. Academic performance

This is the main reason for joining college. If a student’s grades are not good, then they find themselves stressing about it.  The federal government has set a minimum GPA as a qualification for school fees funding. For those who rely on the funding, they are stressed up when they do not perform well. This affects the life of college students and stress starts to develop.

  1. Financial problems

College is expensive. A lot of money is needed to pay for tuition, accommodation, meals, commuting fee and such. Students who struggle to meet all their needs find themselves stressed most of the time.

They hardly concentrate on their studies and may spend a lot of time either thinking or drinking. Students who have students loan are faced with a challenge as they have to start paying back soon after their graduation.

  1. Workload

As you attain higher ranks in education, the workload increases. The tutor does less as you go higher in the ranks of education. If you have many units with immense workloads per semester, it can be overwhelming.

  1. Poor Eating Habits.

When in college, there are so many activities that can steal your time. In most cases, eating well is not a priority and you will be open to eating anything just to satisfy your hunger. Poor diets only contribute to higher stress levels. Foods like yogurt, oatmeal, avocados, asparagus and salmon are known to reduce the level of stress.

6.      Responsibility

As a student you’re totally responsible for your well-being in college, from observing class time to paying some bills. If you were not used to this kind of life, it will be challenging. In high school, teachers and parents look after you but in College, you have to face it single-handedly.
Safety, cleanliness and the likes are your responsibility. Since you are not accustomed to it, it overwhelms you like it does to other college students and stress may be evident.

7.      Family

Every family has some expectations for their college student. The expectations are sometime rated according to other students or as to their own standards. Students therefore feel the pressure to do as their parent’s want. Without doing so; they would be labelled failures by some parents.
They therefore struggle to meet the standards of their parents. If the standards are too high, then the student struggles to please the parents. The struggle is a source of constant stress for the student.
College students want to prove their Excellence to each other. There is positive and negative competition. For positive, you are ready to learn from the others what to do to improve yourself. The reason for seeking help is purely selfless. For negative, the reason you want to improve is to prove that you are better in a proud way.

  1. Balance Between Social Life and Education

It is important to enjoy yourself but with limitation. As you interact with people, you must remember that your education comes first. The time that you allocated for studies should be guarded so that distractions do not interrupt it. Activity that could interrupt that time should be avoided.

An example of such is partying all night on a weekday. If you do this, then you will be unable to attend your classes the following day. If this continues for some time, you will end up performing poorly. Poor performance is a source of stress on its own.

  1. Students are scared of their future

In a normal circumstances, students change courses at least once in their college life. First, they wonder about the best courses and whether they will get jobs if they do the courses. Students who rely on student’s loan are also faced with the challenge because they have to start paying back the loans as soon as they graduate.
Positive stress makes you to work harder and to improve, it has positive results. Negative stress on the other side leads to poor grades and health conditions. Poor performance arises when you do not seek help as a college student and stress controls your performance in school.
The best thing to do is to deal with situations as they arise. Since you cannot avoid challenges in life, you have to decide how to deal with them without affecting your health.

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Category: Blog