College can be tough … really, really tough. There’s no sugarcoating it. You’ve got classes to go to, homework to finish, exams to study for, professors to email, shifts to work, and on top of all that, you’ve also got to keep up with some kind of social life. Stressful. It doesn’t take much time at all to see that college is way different from high school. Not to mention the fact that with all those responsibilities buzzing around in your head, if you aren’t incredibly organized, there’s a good chance you might miss an assignment or forget to study, and that only adds to the already unbelievably high pressure behind your eyeballs.
Personally, I struggled big time with managing everything. I felt like I had so much to do and so little time to do it, and because I just didn’t know where to start, I would push it off as much as I possibly could and try not to think about it. Anyone relate to that, or is it just me? I have a good feeling it’s not.
I’ve learned a whole lot about managing stress since I’ve been at Cedarville, so here are some of my top do’s and don’ts for alleviating a good chunk of that pressure that’s clouding your brain. I hope they help you as much as they help me!
Don’t neglect time in the Word.
As bad as it sounds, sometimes our time with the Lord can be the first thing we push off in order to work on other things. After all, we don’t get graded on it, so that can wait, right? WRONG. True, we’re here for an education first, but spending time with God and in the Bible comes even before that — and I mean personal time, aside from Bible reading or assignments for a class. You won’t be sorry. I urge you to clear your head, put down your phone, and just read, pray, and rest in His presence; there’s nothing more encouraging and relieving than that. That’s more important than any assignment you might have.
Pushing it off doesn’t make it go away. I hate to break it to ya, but that paper isn’t going to write itself, and the information in your book isn’t going to crawl into your brain by laying your head on the pages. Sorry. The first step to stop the monster of stress before it grows bigger is by cutting it off at the head and simply starting. Don’t wait and make it a game to see how little time you actually need to get the thing done; that only makes it worse. You’ve got this! But you just have to get started.
Take it one step at a time.
Once you start, it’s easy to look at the entirety of what you have to do, and that can be wicked overwhelming. Instead of just starting and working without a plan, make a plan! Think it out step-by-step, make a list of the things you have to do in order to complete the assignment(s), and take it one step at a time. Break it down into smaller parts. Personally, this helps me organize my thoughts, think more clearly, and knock the work out much faster. You CAN get it done, just take it one step at a time, little by little.
Do it gradually.
One enormous mistake I made was trying to do it one assignment at a time. What I mean by that is if I had four assignments to do, I would work on only one at a time until they were all done. The issue with that is then if I didn’t finish what I planned, I would get so overwhelmed as I realized that in addition to starting all the other assignments, I still had to finish that first one. Solution? Don’t just try to knock out one assignment, work on all of them gradually. This way, you’re making progress in each assignment, figuring out where you might need more time, and not having to rush last minute on something you planned on having more time for.
Sweat it out, and sleep on it.
Believe it or not, physical activity plays a crucial role in demolishing stress. Go for a run. Walk around. Take a hike. Lift some weights. Blow some steam. Even if it’s only thirty minutes, physical activity boosts your endorphins, thus improving your mood, and will help increase your focus when you do go back to your work. I know not everybody likes working out, but, seriously, sweating it out helps a great deal. Give it a try, you’ll see. Don’t neglect sleep, either — it’s easy to do, just stay up late studying and wake up early to get right back on the grind, but lack of sleep has an over-abundance of negative effects. Basically, taking care of your body is far more important than you might think. Don’t forget to take care of yourself in this way.
Majoring in Advocacy Communications, Class of 2023
Favorite Place to Be: Outdoors
Go to Rinnova order: Either an Iced Boston or ‘Promised Land’