How to Deal With Stress

College, especially for freshmen, can be stressful. Learn to reduce pressure on yourself by incorporating these 5 stress management steps.

It is no secret that college is where you are supposed to figure out who you are and what you want.But with that, comes the pressure of expectations and frustration of learning at a fast pace. This article is here to hopefully help with that.

1. Things Don’t Have to be Perfect

With each project and assignment came a panic attack. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and that my teachers were expecting me to automatically know everything and to be perfect. Over the semesters, fate decided to be good to me, and place people in my life who were older and very knowledgable about our school. Consequently, there are two very helpful things that have eased my anxiety quite significantly:

a.) We are all learning. It’s okay to make mistakes. When you are learning something new, IT IS OKAY to not understand it right away. Everyone learns differently and sometimes it needs to be explained differently for you to truly understand.

b.) I have discovered the miraculous office hour! I’m going write this in big letters so you can’t miss it: IT IS OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP. Your teacher is required to work with you to help you understand the material. I cannot tell you how much I regret not utilizing office hours in my first year of college. It would have saved me a lot of trouble. An office hour is great because the teacher can focus their attention on you rather than a class of fifteen, or more students. Ask for help, you will feel so much better once it clicks.

It doesn’t need to be perfect right away, or ever because – brace yourself for a cliché – we are human, we make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Hate to say it, but it is true.

2. Hard Work Really Does Pay Off

In my first year of college I had no idea what I was doing, and – let’s be honest – in the first year of college, who does? I was one of the worst procrastinators you could ever imagine. I waited until the last second for everything. One day, I actually tried making a list of everything I had to do in the order they needed to be done. I sat down and decided that I was not getting up until two things were crossed off that list. It was NOT an easy feat. I made sure I had water, soda, and food within my reach the entire time, and a made myself get it done. I completed these tasks on time and  it felt so amazing to have refined and utilized the process towards perfection.

I have learned that taking the time to plan, in combination with making the decision to follow through, may have been difficult to complete but doing so canceled out that feeling of horror and an enormous weight was lifted from my shoulders. Once I realized that every time I completed a task, I could write out checkmarks next to those tasks and therefore, didn’t have to think about them anymore.

3. The more educated I am about a subject, the better I feel about myself

Somewhere in history, someone made college all about being opinionated, so much so, that people who are not educated enough on an issue, are stating opinions that are either ignorant and/or completely wrong, due to misinformation. This has put college students, and our generation in general, in a negative light. A way to combat this is to be curious about everything.

If you are curious about everything, you will be more inclined to not only research one opinion, but also as many opinions as you can. This allows you to form your own opinion based on what you believe. Take care to look at an issue from every angle and not just one that you think you agree with, because there could be an opinion from another side, that could cause you to rethink your views.

4. It is okay to say YES

During my first semester at Berklee, I never went anywhere except for the common area in the dorms. This was partly because I have travel anxiety. So, I was never really one for adventure. I was raised to be cautious about everything, to the point where if I heard something negative or sketchy about a place, I wouldn’t go. Within the last year, I have started to say yes to adventures, yes to coffee and lunch dates that I used to avoid like the plague, and I discovered just how awesome this place and these people are! I have made some amazing friends because I said yes to going out when I wanted to stay inside, where it was safe and familiar.

5. It is okay to say NO

There are times when it is just all around better for you to say “No.” It is true – college is about exploring and learning and trying new things. But, if something makes you uncomfortable, feel unsafe, or if you just don’t want to do it, you are allowed to say no. Even if it is as simple as a coffee date and you just want to go home. If you have too much work to do, or you just want to be a hermit, you can say no. Your true friends will understand.

Thus concludes the first half of my list and there is more to come. Let me know if this helps at all or simply let me know what you think!

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