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Stress is something that everyone faces and there are different kinds of situations that happened in our daily life which can trigger stress. Being in college is an exciting journey for a lot of people because we finally get to be independent and are able to hop into the next chapter of our lives. However, when there is independence, there is a lot of responsibility. I know you might think that I’m going to quote Spiderman’s famous quote, but I didn’t. If you don’t know Spiderman’s quote then you should google it right now.
Experiencing stress in college is something all college students experience for many different reasons. Stress levels vary depending on each individual's experiences. International students may have experienced stress within the first few days of their arrival in their host country. I experienced the same thing when I first arrived here in Minnesota because I have never left my parents' side and I have never lived alone in a big country before. You may ask “How can you be stress on your first time in a great big country?” Well, I was very excited to be independent when I first landed at the Saint Paul international airport. I was scared of course, but I was more excited to see my university. Everything was so exhilarating. Even when a couple of the airport staffs can be rude and misleading, I still managed to find my way to the university. I arrived safely to my apartment and I was very excited to be independent. I looked for the nearest target and decided to go and buy things that I need for the week. It was all exciting because of the idea of being independent. However, I started to get really stressed out when I realized that I had to take a 30-minute walk back to my apartment while carrying a bunch of stuff in both of my hands. Now, that’s when my stress and homesick started.
I have moved past that experience because now I am more accustomed to life here in Minneapolis. However, there are emerging stresses that happened from time to time, when it comes to dealing with classes or planning some things. To be honest, there are things that happened in our lives which comes out as a surprise that we might have no control over. If you are like me who freaks out when things are out of your control, then stress is often your friend. I was told that I am the calmest person someone has ever met, but I do not feel like I am a calm person because I freak out all the time. I know I can handle things no matter how challenging it is, but I don't handle it with calmness.
While I navigate my way through this new place, I picked up a few ways that I could do to handle or prevent myself from getting overstress. This does not only apply to college students or students in general but it works for anyone.
Do your work early – This may sound like the easiest and the most familiar thing that you have heard before, but often times we like to procrastinate. I have to say that procrastination is a student’s best friend. I would sometimes intentionally choose to do unimportant things over the things that I needed to do. I ended up leaving things to the last minute which stresses me out. Be sure to manage your time beforehand so that you would not feel burden by other things.
Spare some time for yourself – I have done this a few times and it has helped me tremendously. I enjoy doing this “self-care” routine during breaks/holidays, even if it’s just for a day or two. Take a day or two to just focus on yourself. The first thing I do is not think about my assignments or go to social media. I know it might be easy to not think about your assignments than using social media, but if I can do it, you could too. What I usually do is “eliminate” all of the distraction, such as deleting the social media apps. I know it’s too extreme, but it does help if you are tempted to go into social media. By doing that I am able to focus on myself. I would do some exercises such as yoga poses or just listening to calm instrumental songs. I usually listen to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker pieces or Disney’s instrumental songs. I would also do some of my hobbies, such as drawing, writing, practice dancing or just read. This allows me to focus on myself, and it makes me happy. I usually have a good mood afterward. Surprisingly, it also helps me come up with some fresh new ideas for my assignments or projects.
Take Advantage of your Campus Resources – This is something that I wish I had done during my first year here. University Campuses offers a lot of helpful resources that can help you. The most well-known resource is the Writing Center. The Writing Center helps you with your paper. This does not mean that they will write your paper for you because that would be cheating. You will still write your own paper, but they can help you with proofreading. If you cannot come up with a thesis for a research paper, they can help you with that as well. You will still do all the work, they are only there to guide you. Which is very helpful because it is less stressful for you.
There are other campus resources that could help you when dealing with stress. I usually attend the small events held around campus or go to watch free movies at the campus theater every Friday night. In my University, the university clinic organized an event called P.A.W.S, twice a week. If you are an animal lover like myself, you would love this. Every Tuesdays and Thursday's, many pets would be brought in by their owners to the campus and students would come to pet these pets. The pets vary from dogs, cats, and rabbits. They even have a pony and a chicken who is very well-known around the campus community. The event organizers did not just allow anyone with a pet to come in, pets and owners go through a long process of "background check" before participating in this event due to health reasons for both the students and the pets. This event allows students to come and De-stress from all of their overwhelming work. I personally think that this event is one of the most beneficial for students to De-stress. It does help me a lot, so I would go there whenever I am feeling down.
Last but not least is to always be positive. When you are faced with challenges that could bring your mood down or panic, just be positive about this situation. Don’t let your mind worry too much and start thinking of ways that you could do to fix this situation. If you worry too much, you will become more stressed and that could affect your body (physically) as well. I know that thinking of ways to solve your situation can sometimes be stressful as well, but what I usually do is think about a positive situation in my past experience to give me ideas to solve a particular situation, or to assure myself that I could do this. As an example, I get really worried when I'm about to travel, however, I would assure myself that I can learn to navigate because I have traveled to a few places before. I believe that Self-assurance is one of the most powerful things we have. It allows us to be confident in our own abilities. Most of the time we need to remind ourselves that we are strong and that we could do something if we put our minds to it.