New Stress, Same Me

Stress. Excitement. Maybe even dread. These are emotions that may surround you at the start of each semester. A new semester can be scary with new classes, new professors, and new challenges. Unfamiliar territory with no routine to ground yourself yet. On the other hand, there may be a lot to look forward. Reuniting with friends and roommates after a break. The freedom and independence that comes with college. Maybe you see new classes, new professors, and new challenges as something positive; a new aspect of your life you’re ready to conquer. Either way, the start of a new semester is a period of change and adjustment and managing the stress that comes with those changes is important. 

Worry is what defined this transitioning period for me. I was stressed the week leading up to the semester and the first of week classes. I was worried about finding my new routine and rhythm this year because my list of responsibilities had grown. I now have an internship, a role as Assistant Photo Editor for The Spectrum, harder classes, and I’m in the process of starting a new club on campus with my peers. It’s easy to say that I have a lot more on my plate, especially compared to last semester where I felt I was gliding through with little to no stress. I felt on top of the world. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress. A lot is thrown at you during syllabus week: homework, expectations, due dates for essays and papers that are now forever hanging over your head. Trust me, I get it. The number of papers I’m going to write this semester is far more than I could have anticipated. The closer the due dates get and the more weeks that inevitably pass, your stress will likely keep growing, but it doesn’t have to. I want to share with you some ways I manage my stress and am able stay on top of my work throughout the entire semester. 

I’m in the very small percentage of students who cannot procrastinate. Every single one of my friends have told me that they simply cannot start their work unless there is the pressure of having only hours left to complete their assignment. I cannot function like that. The minute I receive an assignment my brain is automatically thinking of the earliest time I can start it. I do this because waiting until the last-minute causes me too much stress, and I don’t feel like I can produce my best work that way. My trick is to think of my future self in these scenarios. I’ll suck it up and do my assignment now, so next week I won’t have to worry about it, and I can hang out with my friends or watch all the Netflix I want without the looming dread of a due date. This mindset helps me stay productive, and I recommend it to anyone. 

Another useful tip is to find your groove through all your responsibilities. I find that a routine can really help you stay sane if it feels like stress is taking over your life. The first couple weeks of the semester are the test runs. Find what works. Figure out when and how much free time you have. Figure out the best route to get from point A to point B. Eventually you’ll find your flow through your classes, meetings, homework, and extracurriculars. Obviously, every week may not be the same, but at least you will have a sense of familiarity. If you got through last week, you can definitely get through this week.

As you navigate this semester, I hope you find your routine and tackle your stress. At the end of the day, it’s important to enjoy your time here and appreciate the memories, connections, and growth you’ve made, and will continue to make.

About the author

Asst. Photo Editor

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