Column: A semi-humorous guide to coping with anxiety during semesters
Anxiety has skyrocketed amongst college students within the last decade. Is there an applicable solution?
I have had this conversation numerous times with both close friends and fellow college students. “How do I cope with anxiety during the semester?” Approaching the end of my junior year, I can say that I have experienced academic anxiety in many ugly forms. Academic pressure from external, societal sources and internalized issues, for examples. The coursework I have been assigned is truly the tip of the iceberg, in my opinion.
Students have umpteen reasons to be stressed even before they sit down to write that 15-20 page paper, or compile the project that’s due soon.
As one who struggles with academic and general anxiety, through trial and error I have found things that work, things that don’t and things that no one should try. I, as best that I am able, would like to share with readers a few ways that I have found to cope with semester anxiety. No, I am not going to make a list of essential oils, though they are effective in some instances.
First, do not hit the snooze button. I know, I know, it’s the craziest thing I could say to my fellow college students, but hear me out. Not rushing out of the door in the morning effectively minimizes anxiety, even for a few hours.
Secondly, allot time to doing your coursework. Setting multiple blocks is good in helping you focus and accomplishing as much as possible during that designated times. Do not sporadically attempt assignments.
When the session is over, walk away and clear your head. Trust me, I understand being busy and having to squeeze in moments to finish assignments because I have worked a full time job and participated in extracurricular activities my entire collegiate career. This technique saved my sanity, majorly.
Thirdly, go outside and take a deep breath. As cliche as that sounds, getting fresh air in a calming environment even for 20-30 minutes works wonders on an anxious mind. Side note: I have also been struck with my greatest research and writing ideas during these moments.
Fourthly, dare I say it… treat yourself. Spend time with your friends and do absolutely nothing for a few hours. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Make time for hobbies and things that make your day brighter, without using them to avoid responsibility.
Lastly, I strongly advocate keeping a journal and counseling. Bullet journals are trending for a reason, and that is because they truly help. Will color coordinating your journal completely cure your stress? Probably not. However, writing down your schedule and externalizing your thoughts and feelings in a safe place will work wonders.
Maintaining mental health is imperative for quality of life, which in turn will affect academic performance. Get enough sleep and avoid drinking so much caffeine that unnecessarily increases anxiety. Talk with advisers, professors, and friends.
Of course, anxiety medication is necessary if your physician or therapist recommended it. USC Aiken offers student counseling and values mental health. Talking with a counselor even once a week will help alleviate things that may not be comfortable to discuss with parents and friends.
The USCA Counseling Center is available for students who need assistance.
Columns written by editors and writers of Pacer Times do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff members or leadership. Letters to the editor may be emailed to Editor-in-Chief Cecilia Maddox at firstname.lastname@example.org, and will be published at the editorial staff’s discretion.