Tips for fighting stress

    College students face their own version of stress, so why shouldn’t it have a name of its own?
    How about: “Student Study Stress Syndrome.”
    It’s not surprising that students suffer from high levels of stress. After all, they have their whole lives ahead of them – and what they do at college could determine its quality.
    Whether they end up the customer at McDonalds or one of the minimum wage employees could depend largely on whether they graduate.
    Stress doesn’t just dwell in students’ heads – it fills them, leaving room for nothing else.
    Stress can lead to sleep-deprivation as students pull all-nighters trying to cram as much information into their brains as possible.
    A study published in the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Journal states that students who pulled all-nighters routinely received lower grade point averages than those who didn’t do the extra studying. Students often try to compensate by drinking large amounts of energy drinks or caffeine.
    According to Pediatrics Magazine, as many as 50 percent of young adults admit drinking large doses of energy-boosting beverages; this includes college-age students.
    Because the FDA categorizes these drinks as “nutritional supplements,” they are allowed to bypass the caffeine limit of 71 mg per 12 ounces set by governmental regulations.
    A caffeine overdose can result in heart attack, stroke and even death.
    Stress makes people do things they normally wouldn’t do, like cheating, eating too much or not enough, drinking alcohol, excessive smoking, stealing and mood changes, including everything from being irritable to dangerously violent.
    What’s important to learn is what is causing the stress and how to relieve it, which usually means getting to the root of the problem and solving it. Some reasons for Student Study Stress Syndrome can be:
  1) Cramming – waiting until the last minute to try to learn an enormous amount of information.
  2) Distractions – whether it’s a member of the opposite sex, trying to keep up with friends, problems back at home, financial worries, roommate conflicts, teacher conflicts or any other reason that keeps a student from concentrating.
  3) Time Deficiency – attending class during the day, working until late hours, and then going home to do homework and/or study for tests.
  4) Money worries – whether a fear of losing financial aid or stress from not getting enough hours or money from the job.
  5) Overwhelming class load – two many classes or classes that are more difficult than the student can easily understand.
    These reasons for stress can lead to sleep-deprivation, exhaustion and many health issues. Worse, they can result in accidents, clinical depression and even death.
    On an almost weekly basis, at least one student nationwide is reported to have committed suicide due to school-related stresses or, having suffered sleep-deprivation, walked out in front of a car or fell asleep at the wheel and killed others. A report from Michigan State University reports stress as the second most named reason that students drop out of college.
    The No. 1 reason was loss of financial aid – often due to those grades they were stressing themselves to attain.
    Many other national studies offer various percentages, but overall it seems that about nearly 50 percent of college freshman drop out due to stresses from either financial aid loss or inability to keep up.
    Other studies state that this rises to nearly 75 percent who drop out in their second year.
    Now for some solutions.
Schedule ahead
    Schedule your study and homework time. If you have to read 50 pages and take a test on the contents within the next 10 days, divide up the time, allowing more study time on days you don’t work. Most important, plan to complete this two days ahead of schedule, so that if something comes up you still have two more days to study.
When it’s time to study…
    There is a time and place for everything. When it’s time to concern yourself with your financial aid, your work schedule, your ongoing conflict with a roommate or teacher, or whether or not your parents may be getting a divorce, then focus on these.
But when it’s time to study … STUDY!
    Don’t try to study while filling out financial aid papers or working on the job; focus on one thing at a time.
Stay organized
    Organize your notes so you don’t waste time looking for papers.
    Get research books ahead of time in the library instead of waiting until the last minute when all the good books are checked out.
    If you’re a day person, it would serve you better to get a good night’s sleep and then get up two or three hours earlier to study when you mind works better.
    If you do better studying late at night, try to arrange your schedule so that you can either sleep in a little or take a power nap in between school and work.
Budget your money, too
    Budget yourself, not only with your time, but with your money. Live within your means. Buy used books. Bring sack lunches. Don’t waste gas driving anywhere you don’t need to go. Put on your calendar the dates you have to reapply for financial aid and get there early.
    If you’re excellent at Math or Science, etc, put up a notice that you will tutor for extra money.
    You can babysit and do your homework or study when the little ones are asleep. There are many solutions to financial problems; mainly it’s tightening your belt and getting a good job.
Rethink your class load
    If you’re taking too many classes, talk to your guidance counselor to see how you can lighten your load.
    If you have difficulty with one class, that’s enough to throw you into a tailspin; don’t chose two hard classes in the same semester.
    If you must, however, find a tutor. They can be expensive, but often you can barter. You can tutor someone in Science if they’ll tutor you in Math.
    Stress is what you make of it.
    Prepare, get control. Don’t live for today, plan for tomorrow … and next week. Think positive. A car goes where the steering wheel takes it. Your body goes where your brain leads. When you prepare ahead and believe you will succeed, most often you do.