Sources of Stress

Are you extra stressed out? Why? What is the source? Find out below:

Although at times it may feel as if there are infinite sources of stress, generally college stress can be broken down into six categories: prior academic record, social influences, family, finances, career direction, and situational problems (such as illness or drug problems). Most students think that stress is caused by outside factors. They might say that a test, a professor, or a paper is “stressing them out.” But stress is really an internal process. Therefore, it’s important to have some strategies for dealing with stress in order to put your reactions to it in perspective. As you read about the six categories of stress, remember that stress is natural, it is internal, it is often an overreaction to a specific situation, and IT CAN BE CONTROLLED.

1. Prior academic record. Students who have a “shaky” academic past may feel that they can’t succeed in college. On the other hand, students who have a 4.0 average may feel stress to keep their stellar grade point average. Either way, your past history as a learner affects your stress level.

2. Social influences. You probably have realized that dealing with your friends can often be stressful. A fight with your roommate, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, meeting new people-all of these situations can be stressful. In fact, even situations we would consider to be positive social factors, such as falling in love or socializing with really good friends, can cause a stressful reaction. Overall, however, having good friends and social support will actually reduce your stress levels because you have someone to confide in.

3. Family. You may feel pressure to so well in college in order to make your family proud, you may feel stress because you have moved away from your family, or because of family crises that arise. But like social influences, your family can also be a source of support to help you when you experience a lot of stress.

4. Finances. Financial stress usually begins in college (and never ends!) because students take out a loan to attend college, get jobs to help pay for college, or have to maintain a certain grade point average to keep their scholarships. Many college students are also responsible for paying bills and are gaining responsibility for their financial security. In addition, college students get their own credit cards, which can lead to great financial stress if used inappropriately. We know numerous college students who graduate not only with a diploma, but also with student loans and a stack of credit card debt. All of these things can cause stress, especially for students who are handling their own finances for the first time.

5. Career direction. “So what’s your major? What the heck are you going to do with that?” You may have heard similar comments from friends and relatives. Everyone (perhaps yourself included) wants to know what you will do with your life after college. The less sure you are about your career direction, the more stress you might feel about it. You may even be concerned that you’ll never find your direction. On the other hand, students who have already decide on a career might also feel stress because they are concerned about achieving their goals.

6. Situational problems. Certain stresses are unexpected and sometimes devastating. You may become ill during the term, experience the death of someone close to you, among many other things. As will all the categories of stress you feel overwhelmed by situational problems, seek help from a counselor on campus or someone you can talk to about these concerns.

What’s the cause for your stress?

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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