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The younger college student, or one who enters college from high school or shortly thereafter – experiences stressors such as the dramatic lifestyle change from high school to college, grades, course overload, making friends, love and sex stressors, shyness, jealousy, and breakups. It is because of these many stressors that most schools offer stress management programs for its new students, to help them adjust to the new kind of life they face.

Lifestyle change

The more life changes you experience, the more stress you will feel and the more likely it is that illness and disease will result. Just imagine all the life changes associated with attending college for the first time!

Although many high school students do take on household responsibilities and do have jobs, generally the high school years are comfortable ones. When college begins, however, a dramatic change takes place. Time must be set aside for shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, and a myriad of other routine chores.

For the first time in many students’ lives, they must assume responsibilities they have never had to assume before. Further, no one keeps asking if they’ve done their homework. They must remember to fit this in between all their other activities.

It can really be quite a problem if you’re too used to having this handed to you while you were young. But you really don’t need to fret too much, because majority of student affairs offices in colleges and universities all over the country offer free stress management programs, counselling and assistance to students who feel that they are carrying too much on their backs.

Stress management programs for students identify the following issues as those that bother students during their first foray into college life.

- the development of autonomy

- the development of competence

- the development of purpose

- the management of emotions

- the development of identity

- the freeing of interpersonal relationships

- the development of integrity

Apart from the abovementioned sources of stressors in student life, stress management programs also mention the effect of grades on a student’s psyche. Some students link their self-worth with their grades and find themselves feeling ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ when they flunk a certain subject or fail to get great marks on a certain exam.

Sure, grades are important. However, some students have taken the obsession with grades to an unnatural extent that their physical healths have begun to deteriorate in the process.

Stress often begins in one’s head. Once a student lets stress get the better of him or her, his or her bodily functions bog down. Students give up exercise, don’t have enough time to prepare balanced meals, or pull ‘all-nighters’ so frequently that they walk around with bags under their eyes. Some students are even too preoccupied with their grades that they don’t have social lives anymore, which is another helpful factor to making sure stress is managed effectively.

Stress management programs for students also advise against students taking too many courses at once. In today’s goal-oriented, rush-rush society, the more you accomplish in the shortest period of time, the better. The result is people rushing through their lives and experiencing very little. They achieve a lot of goals but don’t enjoy the trip to those goals, thereby leading to a lot more stress than if they had taken the long course and taken things slow, instead.

Sure, achievement is the driving force of success today. However, success should not be sought at the expense of one’s physical well-being and sanity. Thus, students who are feeling burned out by their school workload should acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, they are pushing themselves too hard and seek the help of stress management programs offered at their respective schools. Stress is not a disease and it can be addressed. If you’re on the brink of a breakdown, seek counselling immediately.

Christine P. Gray is a recognized authority on the subject of stress management. Her website provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on everything you will need to know about self improvement. All rights reserved. Articles may be reprinted as long as the content and links remains intact and unchanged.

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