Dealing with Stress

Maybe the thought of starting college is making you a little edgy. Or maybe it's no big deal. Either way, there's bound to be some stress once you get there. How will you cope?

A Little Stress Can Go a Long Way

Way back in 1908, two psychiatrists, Yerkes and Dodson, concluded that individuals with too little or too much stress learned the least, but those with "moderate" stress learned the most. When stress is too low, you may not care about what you're doing, and your performance might be poor. If you're overburdened and stressed-out, you may experience excessive anxiety, and your academic performance may also suffer.

Common Stressors in College

Don't underestimate the ways in which stress can get to you. You might feel the need to study all night before an exam, but you could end up so tired you forget everything you thought you had memorized. Or you could rush through an exam, not taking the time to come up with educated guesses. Some college students aren't prepared for the stress level and drop out.

Knowing how stress can affect your life will help you focus on your school work and do well in college. Be prepared for it. You can control your stress level by learning how to relax, take breaks, exercise, eat right, and switch your concentration to activities you really enjoy. Maybe playing a few computer or video games is all you need to burn off some tension before turning back to your books. Whatever works for you, don't let stress and anxiety get the best of you.

Of course, if you find yourself highly stressed day after day, don't hesitate to meet with a counselor. Most colleges offer counseling services through their health clinics.