College life is full of new experiences and
anxieties. It can be the best of times and the worst of times. Meeting new people, learning, and being on your own
are the best. Falling behind in class, pulling "all-nighters and final exams can be the worst.
Sometimes the best of times lead to the worst of times. Students who spend
too much time meeting new people and "socializing" find themselves skipping class, falling behind in assignments,
and "bombing" exams.
Stress is a common and natural condition of our mortal existence. It arises through
our daily efforts to achieve goals, relate with others, and adjust to the demands of living in an ever-changing
We often view stress as a negative element in our lives and seek to reduce or
eliminate it. We forget that there can be a great deal of growth from learning how to deal with stressful
situations. Our aim shouldn't be to completely avoid stress, which at any rate would be impossible, but to learn
how to recognize our typical response to stress and then try to adjust our lives in accordance with it.
College is a particularly stressful time for most of us with the pressures
of examinations, large amounts of reading, research papers, competition for grades, financial expenses, and social
and career decisions. Students can effectively deal with stress rather than become discouraged and immobilized by
Each of us functions best at a particular stress level. When stress increases
beyond that level, the effectiveness of our performance begins to drop. When we pass our peak of effectiveness we
usually experience symptoms like forgetfulness, dulled senses, poor concentration, headaches, digestive upsets,
restlessness, irritability and anxiety. The occurrence of these symptoms can alert us to take steps to reduce our
stress so our effectiveness can remain at a high level.