How to Deal With the Pressure of Being a Freshman in College

Managing time wisely can keep college stresses from piling up.
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While your freshman year of college can be an exciting time of new freedoms and experiences, it can also include pressure and personal turmoil. A 2010 study by the Higher Education Research Institute revealed that only about 52 percent of college students believe they are emotionally healthy. While academics, financial worries and the desire to fit in can all create challenges, getting help from parents and resources and caring for yourself can help you overcome the pressures of starting college.

1 Adjusting to Academic Standards

Unlike high school, where teachers provide daily access, help and guidance, college classes require you to rely on your own time management, study and organizational skills. Many freshmen struggle with these new requirements along with the increased level of academic difficulty. Staying on top of your syllabi, regularly attending class and establishing a daily study schedule can keep you focused on requirements and assignments, advises Bryn Mawr College's student health center. If you are confused or falling behind, meet with your professors immediately outside of class to identify problems and get back on track.

2 Forming Your Own Identity

Without their high school friends and activities, freshmen can experience diminished confidence and social disorientation. This can lead them into unhealthy outlets such as alcohol, sexual activity and drug use. To combat these feelings, mental health specialist Margarita Tartakovsky suggests taking advantage of campus resources such as counseling and student health centers rather than being ashamed or embarrassed about getting help. Joining a club, talking to someone new in the cafeteria or getting to know a neighbor down the hall are also healthy ways to meet new people and break out of your shell.

3 Dollars and Stress

Frequently, college presents students with their first experience of handling their own finances. Being unaware of how to balance a checkbook, set a budget or properly use a credit card can lead to irresponsible spending. Be proactive by discussing your financial situation with your parents before leaving for college and establish a monthly budget that includes textbooks, dorm room snacks, school supplies, personal needs and outings with friends. On campus, make financial management a regular part of your daily routine, including checking your bank balance and keeping track of purchases.

4 Taking Care of Yourself

While college includes many external pressures, students often make the situation worse by neglecting their bodies. This can result in higher stress levels and a lower quality of physical health. The University of California at San Diego's student health service states that getting at least seven or eight hours of sleep can prevent depression and exhaustion. Taking time for favorite activities such as sports or working out can also help you relieve stress and stay physically active. Maintaining a balanced diet is also key to not only preventing the dreaded Freshman 15, but to staying well and healthy.

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.