In the 21st century, stress has become an inseparable part of many individuals’ daily lives. Though stress is an essential response of our survival instinct which helps us to stay alive in dangerous and threatening situations, as you can imagine, most of the time the reason behind our stress is not because we are fighting for our lives all the time.
Although stressors may vary from individual to individual, one of the most common stressors among younger people is school. The ratio of students facing academic stress is even sky-high among university students. According to a 2015 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment survey, every three students out of four experience high levels of stress while their studies at the university.
Such a high ratio is quite concerning if you consider the consequences of high-stress levels -both psychologically and physically-. A person experiencing high stress cannot maintain a healthy and consistent lifestyle. Fortunately, stress is not unpreventable. There are many different suggestions from experts to cope with academic stress: seeing a therapist, talking about it out loud, meditating, focusing on other hobbies, spending some time out in nature, and so many other options that will help. Though some of these may be more than enough for some of you, they may feel useless to others.
Though our ways of coping with stress may vary, it is always a good start to knowing why we are stressing out. Of course, the main answer is academic stress, but what we mean by that should be the main question to focus on. Here, we will discuss the sources of academic stress among university students, and the signs of academic stress to identify the reasons behind what you are feeling.
1. Poor Time Management
As we all know, the university is quite fun. Hanging out with your friends late at night, not having a curfew, having full responsibility for yourself, and doing whatever you want to do. Though these all sound amazing, the university is quite time-consuming. All those lectures, homework, and exams are not easy to catch up with. Most of the time the hardest part is this point: balancing the fun and the academic parts of the university.
If you are unable to find the balance between these two, you will start to feel like you don’t have time for anything. Once you start feeling like you can’t catch your academic life and missing out on the opportunity to have enormous fun with your friends at the same time, you will start to feel stressed. To avoid this, the best thing one can do is plan ahead. Unfortunately, we all have limited time but if you can manage it well you can be successful and have fun at the same time.
2. Exams & Deadlines
The main reason to go to university is to take more advanced classes and learn the skills you will need but this also means so much harder exams and homework. A heavy workload from school is usually a huge stressor for university students. One solution to decrease your stress levels about your workload is starting early. If you start studying for your exam or writing your essay 2 weeks before the deadline, rather than the day before you will not be as stressed.
However, this solution may not be possible most of the time, but there are also other options to reduce your stress. Firstly, you need to remember that you don’t have to do everything all on your own. You have many classmates going through the same things. Forming a study group, getting essay writing help, or just talking about how you are feeling can be helpful most of the time. Also, you can find someone to pay to write essay for you. Even though you may find some of these options helpful while finding others useless, remembering that you are not alone is quite helpful when it comes to coping with academic stress.
3. Social Challenges
Peer pressure is a concept that we are all familiar with. Though the influence wielded by the social groups does not necessarily mean it is a bad influence, being accepted by your classmates may be a hard task and you may feel like you need to adapt your personality to become a part of the group. This feeling usually appears because of the stress that we feel when we are new to an environment.
However, no matter how hard it sounds, taking a few steps out of your comfort zone is necessary for university. Though it may feel more stressful at first, once you get more comfortable around your classmates it should reduce your stress levels. Always keep in mind you are not the only one feeling insecure, all of your classmates are new to this situation hence, you have nothing to be insecure about.
4. Poor Sleep and Eating
As obvious as it seems, having a good sleep schedule and healthy eating habits are some of the most important parts of having a less-stressful life in university. Having a bad sleep schedule and a bad diet will cause you to have difficulties concentrating on your lectures and learning. As you can imagine, these will lead you to have other problems that we have mentioned before in our list and will end up in increased stress levels. In fact, research shows that students having a good night’s sleep -around 8-10 hours- are much less likely to feel academic stress than those who don’t.
Though these are some of the main sources of academic stress, it is impossible to give a complete list as the reasons behind your stress are quite personal and can be different from the others. However, learning more about some possible reasons behind your stress, and knowing that feeling this way is quite common can be a good first step to finding a good coping mechanism because it is impossible to solve a problem without identifying it first.