Stress: Good or Bad?
College can be stressful for many reasons: being on your own in a new environment, changes in relationships, greater academic demands, new ideas and temptations. When we feel “stressed” at college, it is our mental or physical reaction to the people, places and things that we face every day in our personal lives.
A certain level of stress is healthy and can be motivating. In fact, if balanced correctly, stress can be a positive element in our lives. When stress goes beyond this level, it can become a problem.
Learn more about the upside of stress at
Too much stress can lead to unhealthy and potentially serious physical and emotional consequences. If you notice one or more of these signs, if they persist over a series of weeks or interfere with your ability to function, reach out for help.
Changes in sleep patterns (taking longer to fall asleep, waking up tired; and not feeling well rested)
- Changes in eating patterns
- Increased frequency of headaches
- More short-tempered than usual
- Recurring colds and minor illness
- Frequent muscle ache and/or tightness
- More disorganized than usual
- Increased difficulty in task completion
- A greater sense of persistent time pressure
- Increased generalized frustration and anger
For more on the body’s response to stress, check out this interactive symptom tracker
Concerned about your stress level? Learn stress-reducing techniques that work for you and use them to put stress in its place. Get help from campus professionals [here], or talk to a friend, family member, counselor, clergy or coach.
Students who are mentally and emotionally healthy can deal with stress and bounce back from adversity. This quality is called resiliency.
According to the American Psychological Association, resilience means maintaining flexibility and balance in your life as you deal with stressful circumstances and traumatic events. You show resilience when you:
- Let yourself experience strong emotions but also realize when to avoid them
- Step up and deal with your problems to meet the demands of daily living; then, step back to rest and reenergize yourself
- Spend time with loved ones for support and encouragement
- Nurture yourself
- Rely on others and on yourself
Emotional resilience is, to a degree, something you’re born with. Some people, by nature, are less upset by changes and surprises. But emotional resilience can (and should) be learned and developed. Even people with extraordinary resilience are not immune to the potentially negative affects of stress.
To learn more about coping with stress and how to become more resilient, go to
Dealing with Academic Pressure
There’s no doubt: academic pressure is a big source of stress at college.
Here are some tips for dealing with academic pressure:
- First, identify your source of stress. Identifying what’s bothering you may help you come up with more effective solutions.
- Once you’ve identified your problem, develop a plan for resolving it.
- Make a list of everything you need to do the next day each night before you go to bed. This may help you get a good night’s rest, which will not only relieve stress, but also help you stay organized and eliminate that last minute frantic feeling.
- Put things on a list that you can accomplish. If your list is unreasonable it will end up making you less productive.
- Try spreading out assignments over a certain amount of time. This way you’ll feel less overwhelmed when it’s crunch time.
- Get some help if you’re feeling stressed about a difficult assignment. Speaking to a professor, teacher’s assistant, or tutor may give you a useful confidence boost.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself!
If your problem persists despite these efforts, consider speaking to a health professional about your stress. Contact your campus health center [here] to learn more about how they can help.
This material was provided by
For tips on overcoming midterm and final exam anxiety, go to
Where Does The Time Go?
You are checking your email, Facebook, and Twitter, thinking about what classes you have tomorrow, and trying to remember what room that meeting is in when your mother calls you, your best friend texts you, and you hear a knock at the door, signaling that your study date has arrived.
Many people feel that doing what needs to be done, by the time it needs to be done, and still getting enough rest and relaxation to enjoy life are difficult.
Some students think having good time management skills is part of one’s personality, a quality out of their control. Time management isn’t something you’re born with. It’s a skill that one learns and practices. No one manages their time perfectly. But time management is within your control. How?
- Try keeping a task diary, record everything you do for just 2—3 days can help you look at where you spend your time doing what. You may be surprised at what you see.
- Take note of common distractions, and where and when they seem to occur (phone, TV, social interruptions, etc.)
- Sign up for a Time Management Workshop on campus.
- Consider other struggles working against you: procrastination, stress management, anxiety, and perfectionism. Learn the difference between perfectionism and a healthy striver. http://mitalk.umich.edu/tags/perfectionist
This article courtesy of Mitalk/University of Michigan
To find out what help is available on your campus, click here.
A Stress Free Transition
Making the transition to college can be stressful. Many students overlook the stress involved in making so many big changes in such a brief period of time. For more tips on making a low-stress adjustment to college, go to
Keeping Stress in Check
Stress is part of life. Experts believe that how we deal with stress is just as important as what causes it. To learn more about ways to manage stress, go to