It’s no secret that college is a lot of work. With term papers, finals, and the fear of flunking out with no back-up plan, it’s enough to make any college student want to pack up and run far away. However, I’m here to tell you that every student at some point feels like they are not cut out for this life. College is like riding a bike: every time you fall down, you have to get back up. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be able to dust yourself off and continue that uphill battle.
1. Call home
Venting to your parents may seem weird to high school students, but it’s one of the best stress relievers for college students. Even if you think they won’t understand, trust me, they will. Your parents were probably college kids too. Keep in contact with your parents just for the sake of keeping contact. They took care of you for 18 years, so the least you can do is give them a call to catch up. And you should call them—it’s not their job to call and beg for your attention. If you don’t contact them, they’ll assume you’re too busy for them. Avoid the awkwardness and let them know how you’re doing.
2. Talk to a friend or counselor
If college feels like a monster that’s been haunting your dreams for the past few weeks, try talking to a friend in the dorms about it. The great thing about friends in college is that more than likely they are willing to stop what they’re doing to talk about the overwhelming stresses of college life. We’ve all been there, and they’re probably feeling the stress too. However, if you still feel down, talk to a counselor on campus. And the best thing is that your college probably provides free services to students—they know just as well as we do that we’re broke, so don’t let that stop you from getting help.
3. Plan ahead to avoid overwhelming situations
Saying college kids procrastinate is like saying water is wet; it’s just common knowledge. I admit, putting off that paper that’s due next week may seem tempting, but a due date can sneak up on you in the blink of an eye. Trust me, having to do a five-page paper the night before it’s due can definitely put a boatload of stress on a person. To avoid this, try doing just a little at a time. Every time you find yourself scrolling through Facebook or watching TV just try and get a little bit of work done—it doesn’t have to be a lot. Who knows, you might actually get the whole assignment done a couple days before it’s due. Imagine how much pressure that would take off you! (The real challenge is doing that consistently.)
4. Get away from all distractions
Sometimes the best thing a stressed-out person can do is turn off their phone, go to a quiet place, and just think about nothing. This can be done outside, in the library, or anywhere for that matter. Don’t think about grades, roommates, or what’s being served for lunch. Just focus on your own breathing. Focus on this moment and put yourself in the calmest state possible. Once you do this, think about what you have to do in order of importance. What’s due first or what has a lot of material to be covered? It can be easy to think our stresses are a lot more than they really are, but thinking about assignments like a descending ladder will help you a lot both in college and in life.
5. Don’t forget to breathe
It seems like you shouldn't have to be reminded, but take a moment to breathe—every assignment or test is not the end of the world. There's always another chance to do better. Don’t let the idea of perfect grades drive you crazy. Just do your best and remember to breathe deeply.
If you're feeling overwhelmed in college, take a step back. Think about all the hard work you did to get you to this moment: all the applications, tests, papers, and books you read that got you here. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste, because one day you'll look back on yourself and be glad you kept going.
If you need more help staying on top of your assignments and exams, check out Our Best Advice for Homework, Studying, and Tests.