Stress and Anxiety in College


College is one of the most exciting and terrifying times in most people's lives. Along with all the new opportunities and experiences comes a sudden realization of "Wait, this is real life!"


You probably aren't with your parents or high school friends anymore and this can be scary. How will you make new friends? Will you be able to pass all your classes? What if you can't even find your classes?


The first thing you need to know if you are currently in the throes of an anxiety attack is that everyone, everyone is feeling like you right now. Remember how you felt when you entered high school? College is that times ten for most people. So now that you know you aren't alone, where can you go from here?


Well, if you really do have serious anxiety seek professional help. Most colleges and universities have excellent resources for their students' physical and mental health. Look these resources up on your school's website or call someone as soon as you can.


If your anxiety level isn't that severe, there are actions you can take right now to deal with it. Here are some simple tips you can use immediately to begin enjoying your college experience!


  • Clean your surroundings: Stuck in a claustrophobia-inducing dorm room? We've all been there. Throw in a roommate who decided to bring her entire bedroom with her and you've got a lot in between you and tranquility. You can't force your roommate to clean but you can handle your own space. Keep your desk clean by designating a space for all your supplies and at the end of every day, tidy up. This makes it impossible for a big mess to pile up.

  • Create a routine: Set aside a specific time for your homework everyday, based on your class schedule. Find time in the week for healthy activities like meditation, exercise, or some other hobby you enjoy. Stick to this schedule as much as you can and you'll soon find yourself looking forward to those little moments you create for yourself.

  • Keep a Journal: You don't need to be a writer to write. When you enter college, you're faced with a lot of new feelings and maybe some uncomfortable old ones that decide to show up. Writing things down to clear your head is an extremely helpful way to bring yourself back to earth. Try to write regularly, but don't make it a chore.

  • Make Yourself at Home: Bring a few items from home that make you comfortable and remind you of good memories. This could be pictures of your family, one of your pet's old collars, or that cheap charm bracelet you and your friend each bought in third grade. When you're feeling especially alone and freaked out, these items are little reminders of what really is important in life.

The most important aspect of managing your stress in college (and in life!) is to keep your situation in perspective. If you failed your first college math exam, don't fret. Take it as a cue to look for extra help and to refocus. There will be other exams that you will ace, so take each experience as an opportunity to grow. Good luck and have fun!