The Ups and Downs of College Life
The college years have at times been called the “best years of your life," and for good reason. College is a time of opportunities, when you have an unprecedented level of freedom and lots of choices. The traditionally aged college student is at the start of his or her life and career, with much to look forward to.
At the same time, college life introduces stresses both familiar and new. Many students are living on their own for the first time, whether in a dorm or an apartment—a change which is exciting but difficult. You’re taking on more and more responsibilities, negotiating the transition to becoming a full adult. At the same time you have to deal with increasingly tough classes, many on subjects you know little about. Most students have to juggle multiple obligations, such as a job, internship, and clubs or activities, and it’s difficult to find time for everything. And then there are the financial burdens—many students are paying for some or all of their own tuition, and even those who aren’t usually have to pay for their own books, transportation, and other necessities.
So how do you deal with all these responsibilities? College students face a high stress level, and to get through these years successfully it’s important to develop strategies to manage your time and energy. Because college doesn’t have to be so stressful. Here are some strategies to help set you up for success, strategies that if you learn them now will serve you well in other stressful situations throughout your life.
Note: The life of the older, nontraditional college student is often more stressful than that of the 18-year-old freshman. Nontraditional students usually have to balance school with a full-time job or a family or both, as well as many other preexisting obligations. Yet older, adult students have typically dealt with stress more often and developed their own coping strategies, and are more prepared to take on the new burden of college classes. While the strategies in this article are geared towards traditional college students, most if not all should also apply to nontraditional students.