Developing healthy coping mechanisms as a student

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Attending college can be one of the most exciting and pivotal points in a student’s academic journey. It is true as the saying goes that college is truly what you make it. There are seemingly endless opportunities that await at higher education institutions. From groups and organizations to service opportunities and concerts, college can truly be a place for everyone to find something. Attending a large university provides even more opportunity for students to find a place where they belong.

For some, college can be hard thing to balance. While in school, it can seem like the entire world revolves around classes, exams, and turning in projects or assignments. Some people live by the motto of ‘work hard, play hard.’ For college students, this type of balance can be beneficial. When it comes to the extreme stress of being a student, there has to be times when the student is able to debrief from all of the work they are a required to do. When students do not learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, they may turn to harmful ways of coping that can be worse than the stress itself.

Although there is good stress, bad stress can seriously cause physical implications if it is not handled properly. Pent up stress can cause high blood pressure, heart complication, negative or interrupted sleeping patterns, and even anxiety or depression. A student’s physical and mental well-being are imperative to their academic success during college. Self-care is not selfish. Students who are unable to develop those healthy coping mechanisms may turn to drugs, alcohol, or other substances to abuse to try and deal with their stress. It is better to prevent these things than to try and treat and recover later. Prevention and education are key to providing necessary information for students.

For many students, especially first generation students, they truly may have no education or understanding of how to cope with all of the stress that comes with college. From applying to student loans to taking qualifying exams, so many factors of school can truly be stressful. Everyone deals with stress differently and the word stress can mean a variety of definitions and situations to varying individuals. Many schools provide resources to students about healthy coping mechanisms, but there are also a few things students can do to help their school and life balance.

One of the most important tasks a student can do is set up a good support system when they get to college. From friends, to roommates, professors and even a therapist, just having genuine people to truly talk to who are excellent listeners and responders is important. If students find that they aren’t finding people to talk to or establishing the right friend group, they can search the list of student organizations and join something that fits their interests. This can be a great way to meet other students with similar likes and interests and make friends with them. Coming out of high school, students may have lost touch with many of the people they grew up with. It can be hard losing an identity as one transitions to college to reinvent themselves. Another important way to utilize healthy coping mechanisms is to exercise and eat healthy foods. This can have a huge impact on overall happiness and energy levels.

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