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Stressed For College Success? Seven Key Sources of Stress For Students

Jun 30, 2008
It's tough being a student. You're busy learning to live on your own, balancing the demands of friends and relationships and on top of that - you're expected to study! Learning how to balance these various demands is vital to your academic performance, so take the time to learn how to manage stress effectively. The following are some of the key sources of stress that students have identified in recent studies of students attending colleges and universities around the nation:

1. Time Management

Time management was frequently rated as the biggest stress factor for students involved in post secondary education. Many students just aren't equipped with the skills it takes to manage their various responsibilities. If you're someone who spends too little time studying - or someone who's often distracted by extracurricular activities - look for programs on campus designed to teach you better time management skills.

2. Setting Priorities

Balancing all the various obligations that college life entails and setting good priorities is another source of stress identified by many of students involved in the studies. With all the clubs, activities and athletic events going on, it can be hard for many students to balance the things they want to do with the things they need to do - like studying and working part-time. Many students in the studies commented that they felt like they were always "on the run" between different activities.

3. Financial Stability

Worrying about money and financial stability was identified as another key source of stress for students. And it makes sense - college tuition bills are constantly increasing and extra expenses like books and materials add up quickly. Students with homes and families to support are most likely to feel the pinch, but even students with no financial obligations can find it difficult to balance all the monetary obligations without stress.

4. Family Expectations

Family - you can't live with them and you can't live without them. Many students are surprised to find that the stress from family expectations follows them, even after they leave the nest to attend college. Some students are only attending school to please individuals in their family, while others may be attending school to prepare for a career that their families aren't pleased with. Either of these situations - as well as many others - can be stressful for students who are already dealing with heavy coursework, and financial and social responsibilities.

5. Personal relationships

Finding yourself wrapped up in a college romance can be exciting, but intimate relationships can take a toll on already stressed out college students. Many students interviewed in these studies expressed concerns over how difficult it is to maintain their academic performance while in a serious relationship. On the other hand, many students claimed that having a significant other that appreciated the hard work and dedication involved in going to school was a net positive - your success really depends on how committed you are to balancing these different responsibilities.

6. Campus Crime

Being away from home for the first time can be scary - so it's perfectly reasonable that campus crime would be another source of stress for students. Crime statistics can be especially daunting if your campus has recently experienced a series of attacks or burglaries. If you live in an unsafe neighborhood or attend a college with a poor safety record, take appropriate precautions like not walking alone at night and locking up your room when you leave. You may also want to consider renters insurance if break-ins are a problem in your area.

7. Future Uncertainty

Anyone who's attended college has heard the dreaded question at least one hundred times - "So what are you going to do when you graduate?" The scary thing is, no one really knows what they're going to do, unless they're one of the lucky few with job offers lined up and waiting for them. If you're feeling anxiety over your future plans, take a deep breath and try to let go of some of your stress. Uncertainty is a part of life, so worry less and try to enjoy the ride.
About the Author
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