How to beat back to school stress

Kelly Smith

We’ve all been there in some way, shape or form. We’ve all experienced the stress that builds as you realize all the things that need to be taken care of. What’s your main stress source? Is it that you’re worried about the cost of books and other materials? Is it trying to acquaint yourself with new people? Is it the simple fact that summer’s over and you have to get used to being at school again?

There are many things in life that can cause stress, especially during times like this. We want to make sure that everything is taken care of, that we’re not missing anything we need for school and that we’ve said goodbye to our summer friendships. These times are inevitable, so how do we deal with them?

First of all, I’m no expert on handling stress. I can only offer my two cents based on what I’ve noticed. If you’re not so thrilled about summer being over, keep in mind that the first few days always feel longer and worse than the rest. Your mind hasn’t yet fully adjusted to school mode. I know I always spent my first few days of the school year thinking about all the summer things I wish I was still doing. Just push through the first week and soon you’ll find yourself quickly becoming acquainted with your new schedule.

What about things like buying books and materials? If you aren’t financially secure, this can be very stressful. In fact, a personal shortage of money for any reason can be quite irritating. When my dad first spoke to me about exactly how much a typical tuition is, I felt like I was going down a long, painful road of making payments. I know that I still have to pay off my student loans after I graduate, but it’s nice to know that financial aid is taking care of me now. We have a great financial aid system here to utilize; don’t hesitate to take advantage of it.

A common stressor for many freshmen is doing well academically in their first semester. College is a whole new world compared to high school, both in terms of freedom and responsibility. The higher levels of education tend to assign homework as if each class were your only class. The potential workload of college can be very intimidating to a freshman.

Even upperclassmen, who may not have had the best freshman year, might still fret over their academic progress. Another thing GVSU is great about is its tutors and outside help. Nearly every professor lists their office hours on their syllabus and on Blackboard. Not to mention you’re bound to have at least one classmate you see a lot. There are many options out there to receive help. Don’t let your grades slip because you’re afraid to ask for help.

This would also apply to making new friends. I use the same story that I did when writing essays about starting high school. The fact that I’m in drumline helps me meet new people before the school year even starts. But not everyone has this benefit. That’s where beginning-of-the-year parties and get-togethers are useful. As an introvert, I never was big on these things, but it’s a great way to branch out.

Again, I’m not a perfect resource when it comes to handling stress – consult your advisor for that. Based on my own personal experiences though, I know how stressful starting a school year can be. I suppose the most important tip I can give is to remember that everyone goes through stress like this in some way, and there are many people who once walked in your shoes and are readily available to help you now.