Thousands of young men and women have gone to university this week. Some for the first time, some for the second and some for the last time. They’ve left home to spend their most formative years learning the skills to venture forth into the big wide world and get themselves a job on the strength of their academic results.
Thousands of young men and women grinning with nerves as they wave their parents goodbye and turn their backs on their childhood. Nervous smiles as they ponder what to expect; making new friends and fitting in, managing their own finances, controlling their own time and deciding what to cook.
Many will prosper and have the time of their lives. Many will make friendships which will last a life-time and many will excel at their chosen subjects and go onto get their perfect jobs and enjoy a career of wealth, happiness and fulfilment. Many will fall at the first hurdle and many will succumb to the stresses and strains of university life and drop out. Many students go for the wrong reasons, be it to impress their parents or to get their parents off their backs. Many go simply because they have nothing else better to do and many go because the prospect of getting a job and working for a living fills them with dread. Whatever reason, the truth of the matter is stark; university throws up many hidden threats which can push the stress levels of any young person to their limits.
But not all Stress is Harmful.
It’s with this in mind that you should remember that stress can be useful. Don’t be scared and shy away from it. Its inevitable to feel a certain amount of stress at having to complete a 3000 word essay by the next day. It’s inevitable to feel stress at having to be at a lecture hall at 9am after getting back from a night-out on the town at 8.55am. A certain amount of stress will make you excel and rise to the challenge. Good stress is called Eustress and should be embraced as a friend and ally. The challenge is to know what’s useful and what’s harmful. To know when to embrace stress and when to dump it.
Three easy steps to beat University Stress
1. Make time for yourself. This simple piece of advice applies across the board, be it to reduce stress at work, at home or at university. Everybody will be demanding your time, be it lecturers, friends and family. All these people are important and of-course its only right and proper to make time for them. But there is one person more important than all these people and that person is YOU! So switch off your mobile and shut your laptop; close your text books and put down the pen. Walk outside and go for a walk, make yourself a cup of tea or listen to music. The old proverb of ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is so true and so prevalent in today’s age.
2. Say No when you need to. There will always be pressure on you to get your head out of the books and go down the pub. Down that extra pint and knock back that extra shot. Socialising can be the best thing about university because there is no better way to make friends and foster lasting relationships, but you can over do it. Saying No is a sign of maturity, and saying No at university can make the difference between a 1st, 2nd or 3rd.
3. Make use of the facilities. Universities are great places to live and learn, offering a wealth of after class activities. Whatever your passion there’s an activity to compliment it. Get involved and sign up. Whether its sport, theatre, debate or cooking; universities offer it all. With bars, shops, sports centres, tennis and squash courts, health centres, theatres and concert halls all within easy walking distance, there is no excuse not to get involved. Harking back to that aged old proverb, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, to make my point. Stress will come at you from a variety of different angles, but remember, stress is easy to control and manage. Use stress when you need to and dump it when you don’t.
Going to university can be the best time of your life. Embrace the experience with open arms and submerge yourself in everything it has to offer.
Enjoy university but don’t let stress get the better of you.