Starting fresh, banning stress

By Katie Engell
April 16, 2009

Starting fresh at a new school can be stressful. Starting off at college can be even more stressful. First-year college students at Cabrini, and first-year students everywhere, are forced to adapt to a whole new lifestyle.

Transitioning from high school to college means changing from a comfortable standard of living to an unknown future.

This dramatic change can lead to unwanted stress and sometimes ways of coping seem impossible to obtain.

“When I first came to Cabrini, I was feeling stressed about leaving high school and I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle the workload of college. After being here for a semester, that stress has gone away, but thinking back, I was stressed about starting at a new school with new people,” Joe Acri, freshman history major, said.

Stress can be caused for a variety of reasons and for first-year college students, the reasons seem endless. Traveling far away from friends and family can lead to feelings of loneliness and seclusion from daily surroundings.

The pressure of having to fit into a brand new environment can negatively affect just about anybody.

This pressure can be felt from numerous aspects of college living. Meeting the right group of friends, being involved with the school and getting good grades can be overwhelming.

One of the answers to constant stress is balance. Keeping a balanced lifestyle can help peoples’ overall health. A balance in sleep, schoolwork, work, eating, exercise and recreation can be difficult to gain when there seems to be too much to balance in the first place.

“When I think of my schedule first semester of this year, I was all over the place. I wasn’t organized and I was just trying to get into the flow of things. Now that I manage my time better, college seems a lot less overwhelming to me and I’m really getting used to being here,” Peter Morrison, freshman Spanish major, said.

Many college students deal with the constant feeling of having to catch up. Not getting tasks done from the start is one of the main causes of feeling overwhelmed. An answer to this is staying well organized. Being organized will only help in trying to get schoolwork done and getting it done well.

Finding time to relax is another aspect of college living that will help sustain a low stress level. Even if this is a short period of relaxation, it’s important to find time to ease the mind.

This means doing something enjoyable in the midst of a stressful day or week. Finding time to meditate and relax can ultimately renew energy levels and clear the mind of daily stressors.

Getting caught up in a specific problem that arises and focusing too much on the issue is also something to avoid. Gaining perspective about priorities and what is important versus what is unimportant is essential for living a healthy college lifestyle but also for the future in general. It’s easy to get caught up in petty drama and lose focus of what is trying to be achieved while in school.

“Something that has helped me since my freshman year is the friends I made from the start. Just having someone to turn to is a good feeling when I’m away from home and I probably wouldn’t be able to handle college as well I do now without all my friends,” Valeria Saar, sophomore social work major, said.

Developing a trustworthy friend can help anyone cope with overwhelming issues. Being able to have a friend to discuss problems with can help erase the feeling of being isolated and lonely.

Starting college can be overwhelming, but staying positive, keeping a balanced schedule and developing strong friendships can help ease the stress of starting fresh.

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Katie Engell

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