I am at ease in college

College students may feel stressed, anxious and even like giving up. Adora Asinugo-Ejiogu faced that possibility the semester she decided to take 24 credits.

But the 21-year-old information technology major found that, with awareness, organization, goal setting, social breaks, focus, networking and improved sleep, she could handle this amazing load. Now a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, Asinugo-Ejiogu offered these tips for dealing with anxiety, worry, negativity and burn out.

This picture illustrates a college student who is stressed. She definitely needs to calm down. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

Awareness

Awareness is an essential part of managing college stress. Most times people tend to feel less pressured when they are aware of the nature of what they are about to do. For example, Asinugo-Ejiogu, who always took 15 credits maximum from freshman year to sophomore year, decided to take 24 credits in her Junior year. She said that she definitely had to be aware of what she was going into. If a student does not do this, the student might go into the semester and get something I will call an “academic shock,” when a student is in shock of all the academic work they have to do after realizing the reality of it. 

Organization

Organization is a big part of staying conscious of activities. One point I will make is that we need not only to organize our school work, but also to relax. Asinugo-Ejiogu suggested that a very efficient way to keep yourself organized as a student is drawing out a plan for yourself. Different planners work for different people, so try to find a planner that works for you particularly, and then decide whether to plan it out either as a daily or weekly planner. 

“Using online planners like Google Docs can help us get a physical view of what your weekly events look like” Asinugo-Ejiogu said.  As well, physical planners give us a broad picture of what our day/week will look like. Planners give us a sense of direction instead of beating around the bush on the next activity we should do, which may help to stay calm, happy, confident and organized in the long run. Organization helps us stay far away from procrastination and increases daily productivity.  

The figure above is an example of an online planner, used in planning various events ahead of time. Screenshot taken by Peculiar Joseph.

goal setting

One way to be purposeful and less stressed in college would be goal setting. We are definitely less stressed when we know exactly what we are working towards. According to Asinugo-Ejiogu, People who are prepared and set goals accordingly have a lower chance of giving up than those who do not have anything to look forward to.

“Our goal can even be what motivates us to do all we are supposed to do,” Asinugo-Ejiogu said. She mentioned that goal setting is a way of keeping students accountable and in check indirectly. She meant indirectly because a goal is not necessarily a set of rules to follow but is something that definitely gives us reason to work hard. Most times goals eliminate confusion, doubts and even indecisiveness in college, which will lead to a calm and focused mindset. 

A type of physical planner. Remember that choosing a planner that suits you is very important.You can even use highlighters to make it more personal to you. Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels.

stay socially active

Asinugo-Ejiogu stressed the fact that an effective way to be at ease at college is to be socially active. She said that one means of taking a break in college is to involve yourself in a social activity of some sort. She said that playing games, hanging out with friends and attending social events makes her mind refreshed and ready to accommodate more school work. Loosening up from school work is not a bad idea if you have an organized schedule. When we study for a long time and need to take a break from time to time in order to take a break and get refreshed. Listening to music while studying or even in general may ease the pressure and reduce anxiety and stress as suggested by Asinugo-Ejiogu. 

focus on what matters

When you focus on what matters today and not overthink different situations, you tend to have a lower risk of getting overwhelmed. Asinugo-Ejiogu stressed the fact that , when you set your priorities right, you are more likely to have a solid schedule and to ease the stress of worrying about a particular situation. Asinugo-Ejiogu said that she had 24 credits, some of them were related to her major and were on her top priority. She focused on the fact that not all credits are related to your major and having priority on them will definitely help you stay focused.

networking

Asinugo-Ejiogu said, keeping a good networking system is a big help in college too. Being able to remain connected with other people can both ease our stress as there are other people going through the same thing we are going through. Asinugo-Ejiogu said that good networking allows us to have someone who we can always talk to about what we are facing thereby bringing relief. Asinugo-Ejiogu said it is good to keep up with family and friends and that when we have friends or family who can relate with what we are going through at a particular phase of life, we tend to be less anxious. Friends and family are often able to share suggestions , which is a plus, and also gives us a sense of relief. Asinugo-Ejiogu also said that, in addition to networking, a sub point is that college students should never be afraid of asking for help and using the resources available to them. She went on to say that when we reach out for help, we are more certain about what we are doing and more confident about the returns which eliminates anxiety and academic fear.

get good rest

From my personal experience, the main purpose of sleep is definitely to keep our body and mind refreshed. Though Asinugo-Ejiogu said that she mostly did not get the recommended hours of sleep as she only slept for 3 hours sometimes. She said that a lot of college students do not get the recommended amount of sleep due to the amount of work required from them. One way to keep a good sleeping schedule is good planning and organization, but when you have something to do within a limited amount of time, then sacrificing some sleep time will not hurt as much because you have a goal. 

An illustration of a college student who is organized and at ease while studying. Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels.

All the points written above are useful resources for college students. They might not be the easiest to internalize, but taking it one step at a time makes you one step closer to keeping a healthy mind and body. It may even help you achieve good grades.

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