How to Deal With Stress in College

A long time ago in a galaxy unfamiliar to most of us, existed a place where the merits of a college degree alone were enough to guarantee us a high paying job with wonderful opportunities at building our 401K.

Nowadays — well at least the degree still looks pretty.

The pressures that constantly weigh on a college student are heavy.  Maintaining high marks in all classes while working, being involved in greek life or any other extra-curricular activity as well as playing sports can be down right exhausting.  Unless you find a steady way to balance everything laid before you, the inevitable is going to come, and you may find yourself in a position you can’t recover from.

So this is my advice to you…


1.  Keep a Calendar

Pony up about 10 bucks to buy yourself a pocket calendar

How many times have you found yourself knowing that you had something important to do but not quite able to place your finger on it.  Instead of just sitting around playing video games until you remember what it was, cut out the doubt and write down just what it is you have to do.  Most schools offer agenda books, and even if they don’t, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pony up about 10 bucks to buy yourself a pocket calendar or even a dry erase board to keep track of all you have to do.  Be careful with the dry erase board though, your roommates will no doubt use it to show off their phallic artistry skills.

college dryerase board


2.  Find Your Groove

Now that you’ve got your schedule mapped out, it’s time to find a routine.  Waking up at the same time daily helps your body get used to what’s coming and will leave you with more energy for the day.

stress in college

If you’re having a hard time waking up, start eating breakfast shortly after.  Your internal clock bases it’s schedule off your eating patterns.  So not eating when before you go to sleep and eating shortly after you wake-up will aid your body and ensure that waking up leaves you refreshed.  Try to eat your lunch especially around the same time, again remember how your body reacts to food.  If you leave yourself with periods of free time scattered between your classes you’ll be more apt to skip one and that’s not good for anyone, unless it’s a particularly beautiful day, in which case, treat yourself to a nice day — but only once.


3.  Know Your Limits

Maintaining a 3.0 + GPA, being head of a fraternity, working, dating, maintaining a social life — how the hell is anyone supposed to balance all of that?  They’re not, some people are just insane.  But you have to recognize that you might not be meant for that.

Is it really worth it to be involved with so many things if you’re not able to give your absolute best to each one?

An old saying you should keep in mind when taking on anything is that “Something’s got to give.”  You will have to decide what that will be.  Is it going to be your grades, your work, your social life?  Whatever choice you make, you have to be ready to accept the consequences that may arise.  The most important thing you can do in these situations is to just know when to walk away.  You help no one by being involved in something you don’t have the time for.


Related: 7 Professors You’re Lucky You Never Had

Related: How Not to Die In College: No Four Year Fears


4.  Get Your Fitness On

Apart from the obvious benefits to your physical health, regular exercise is an amazing way to relieve stress.

“Doing as little as simply hopping on the treadmill for about a half hour will cause your brain to produce higher amounts of serotonin and dopamine.” –

As added bonus’s, your automatically increasing your brains activity every time you workout, so by hitting the gym before class, you’ve got your brain in hyper-drive, actively ready to learn. Then there’s the euphoria.  No matter how you feel going into your workout, be it angry, melancholy or whatever you call your normal mood, by the end you no doubt experience that “runners high.”

Think of it as your body rewarding you for taking care of it.

But you’ve got to stick with it.  Don’t go to they gym once and think that you’ve got yourself covered for the rest of the month.  You’re jeans won’t like that.


Related: 5 Ways to Get Work Done without Actually Working

Related: 6 Websites That Will Save Your Academic Life


5.  Make “You” Time

This isn’t time where you go out with your friends on crazy adventures.  It’s not time with your significant other.  It’s time spent with just you.  By the end of the week, most students are exhausted from the workload that they maintain throughout their semester, and the weekend often offers little reprieve.

Cram sessions and last minute papers often plague Saturday and Sunday and instead of dealing with the time appropriately students often just go out and get buck wild only to place all the worry on their shoulders come Sunday night.  Needing a break is one thing, but putting your body and mind through that kind of experience will often yield less than desirable results on your work.  If you’ve got a weekend filled with deadlines, instead of spending your free time partying,

Turn off the lap top, put your phone on silent and just relax.

Watch some television, read a book or play Solitaire.  Save the crazy alcohol and drug fueled parties for a weekend when you’re not analyzing the global impact of the Arab Spring’s movement.


However you handle your stress, make sure that you are at least handling it.  Letting it go on will only lead to depression and noticeable declines in your academic life, your work life and your social life.  If nothing you do seems to be helping, seek out guidance from your school.  Universities have guidance counselors with the sole purpose of helping stressed out students, so you have no excuse.

And lastly, if none of that works — try weed.  It’s not for everyone, but if you’re willing to try it, I guarantee you’ll notice a drop in your stress levels.  Just don’t be an idiot and get caught with it on campus.

Jeffrey Giorgi | Bright Futura Columnist

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