Managing Your Stress in an Ever-Changing Environment

Carrie is sitting by the Rowan Boulevard with sunglasses on her face.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

In college, one of the biggest challenges for students is managing stress in difficult times like midterms or finals. With college, there are various obligations that students deal with such as clubs or jobs which tend to add a full course load on top of any already existing stress such assignments being due all at once. The culmination of stress can have severe adverse affects on both the mental and physical parts of the body. According to a study done by Purdue University, when one experiences too much stress it is often common to see physical side effects like an upset stomach, headaches and difficulty sleeping.

It is also common for students to find unhealthy coping mechanisms such as food, tobacco and alcohol which, if overindulged, can lead to more stress. While it is important to prioritize one’s work it is sometimes more important to put yourself first in terms of managing and coping with your own stress. Here is some healthy advice for dealing with stress during a trying time. 

Carrie is sitting on some bleachers and smiling directly at the camera.
Carrie Cunningham, from Bergen County, NJ, is a graduate student in the Higher Education program.

Have A Passion

It’s important for people to find something to do that can alleviate stress. This alleviation can be figured in multiple different ways such as doing something artistically based, getting movement in or  playing video games. You could also try maximizing your own college experience by going to events on campus that interest you and getting more involved with the campus. Do whatever lets you take a small break from your work and give your brain a well deserved rest. 

Build A Support System

Relying on your friends and family at your busiest can be extremely helpful in alleviating stress as it can help garner motivation to keep moving forward as well as even something as simple as blowing off a little steam. Try giving someone a call that you haven’t spoken to in a while or try studying with friends.

Get Organized

The best way to make sure you are balancing everything in life and completing all of your assignments is to find a way to organize your time. Organization of time can be done by creating a schedule, calendar or even organizing the immediate space you are in to limit distractions. Make sure you set aside time in the day to eat and take a break.

Utilize Campus Resources

If you are having trouble with managing your stress, it is best to reach out to your advisor or professor for help with assignments or due dates. Also, consider using Wellness Center resources like the Let’s Talk program which is on-call informal counseling that is offered five days a week for drop-in sessions virtually. Usually, a session can last up to 30 minutes in length. Lastly, if you are in need of more permanent care call the Wellness Center to get evaluated for further therapy.

Reaching out for help when it is needed isn’t an issue that should be stigmatized. College is fun; yet, it is also a very stressful time. Everyone deserves the help, support and resources they need in order to reach their own goals.

Carrie is looking off in the distance.

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Story by:
Carrie Cunningham, Rowan Global student, MA in Higher Education program, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Jack Maisonnueve 

Produced by:
Lucas Taylor, graduate student in Higher Education