Welcome Freshman Bearkats! You’re about to embark on one of the most remarkable journeys of your life. You’ll make life-long friends, create memories, and gain experiences that will jumpstart your career after graduation. As exciting as this new adventure is, however, it won’t take you long to realize just how stressful it can be. After the initial excitement wears off, the less shiny parts of college begin revealing themselves. Not to worry, though! There are ways to battle the stress, and in the end, make yourself stronger for it.
Planning ahead saves lives. Trust me, laying out your schedule on a desk calendar or in a planner will make all the difference. I started out my college career with a hardly used planner and a lot of stress, but now I find myself with a wall calendar, a desk calendar, and a planner to carry everywhere. This may seem extreme, but I don’t miss any of my many deadlines. In fact, some of the best practical advice I ever received was to immediately transfer any and all deadlines/assignments from my syllabi to a planner. Gone will be the days of wondering when that assignment is due or what chapters the exam is over.
You’ll hear this little gem many times; in fact, you probably already have, but this too saves lives. One moment, you think you have all the time in the world to get something done, but before you know it, the due date is at your doorstep. You’ll probably end up pulling quite a few all-nighters in order to get these assignments completed or to study for that exam. Let me save you the stress and tears now: get it done early. Caffeine can only get you so far.
In college, we tend to brag about who is functioning on the least amount of sleep, but let me tell you now, it’s not worth it. Lack of sleep will not only affect your grades, but also your health. Sleep makes you more alert and less stressed. Freshman year can be a breath of freedom for many people, and that can lead to late nights socializing with newfound friends. As great as making new friends is, learning to balance school and a social life is crucial. Think of it this way: In the working world, you probably won’t be able to sleep as much as you can now, so it’s good to take advantage of it now while you still can!
Pet the animals that are on campus every week.
What’s more therapeutic than petting an animal? K.I.S.S. (Kats In Support of Shelters) brings dogs from the Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter to campus every week for students to love on while walking across campus. These dogs are always happy to meet new people, and it’s such a stress-reliever for dog-lovers, especially if you don’t have one of your own. For additional stress-relief, you can join the organization and help these pups find a home!
Make time for friends.
It’s way too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of deadlines, work, and class. Sometimes, it feels like you get up, eat, go to class, eat, study, and go back to bed. This isn’t a sustainable life! Friends are so important in the balance of college. They’re a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, and someone to have fun with when life becomes overwhelming. No matter how busy you are, there’s always time. In the end, life is about the people who walk beside us on this adventure, not the GPA on a piece of paper.
Make time for yourself.
Just as it’s important to be with friends, it’s just as important to make yourself a priority. You’re here to set the foundation for your future, but sometimes you need to set aside the textbook and do something for yourself. Maybe this means watching a new show or indulging in a hobby. You can even invest in a hammock, drag it to campus, and lay between the trees with a good book. Whatever relieves your stress and boosts your energy is a good thing.
Create a playlist.
Music is one of the best forms of therapy. One of the best things I ever did was to sit down and create playlists for different situations. My favorite playlist is my “relaxation” playlist. It calms my nerves and even helps me sleep. When a stressful situation threatens to get the best of you, you can go to your musical happy place.
Take a walk.
Nothing calms the nerves and stress like a walk. Fresh air can clear your head and help you center yourself. Walking through the outdoors is a simple reminder that life is bigger than the classroom.
While stress is a natural part of life, we shouldn’t let it get in the way of having the greatest college experience possible. These are just a few tips and tricks for battling the stress that comes with school. SHSU offers a variety of services to help with any stress its students may experience throughout their time here. Stress may be unavoidable at times, but you have the tools to minimize it. Good luck, Bearkats, as you start an amazing new journey! You’re about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.