Managing Stress as a College Student

Rowan University HCI contributor Alexa leans on a friend, laughing.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Healthy Campus Initiatives. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanHCI on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

College is a tumultuous period of transition. Many students go from living at home with their parents to the newfound freedom of living alone. They transcend their comfort zone and step into a world full of opportunities and challenges.

With harder curriculums and having to balance academics with a social life, it is common for college students to experience high levels of stress (Bennion et al., 2018).

So how can one manage stress?

Rowan HCI contributor Alexa walks in front of Wilson Hall with a friend.
Alexa (left) walks by Wilson Hall with a friend

A lack of information and resources is often the main reason students are unable to manage their stress in healthy and sustainable ways (Bennion et al., 2018). It might be easier to dismiss the fears, anxiety, and feelings of stress one experiences while in college.

An “I just have to get through the week” mentality might work for some time, but eventually, everyone must cope with negative feelings and emotions. Ignoring stress could be significantly damaging psychologically and physically. Studies have shown that excessive stress can be linked to osteoporosis, insomnia and cognitive dysfunction (Bennion et al., 2018).

One strategy that has been proven to reduce stress is meditation. Meditation typically requires a quiet environment in which to sit for at least 10 minutes a day while focusing on a positive feeling. Some of these feelings include peace, calm, and relaxation (Bennion et al., 2018). However, the beauty of meditation is that there is no right or wrong; the individual can focus on anything that centers them.

With often hectic schedules, college students have limited time to destress and meditation is not only beneficial but convenient too. For those who prefer guidance or structured times to meditate, Rowan’s Campus Recreation offers a meditation class every Sunday from 7:45 to 8:15 p.m. This is completely free for Rowan students and offers an opportunity for students to test whether meditation is something they enjoy and works for them.

If you struggle with stress, consider giving meditation a try. Something is better than nothing.

Rowan University HCI contributor Alexa meditates with a friend.

References

Bennion, E.,Olpin, M. N., & DeBeliso, M. (2018). A comparison of four stress reduction modalities on measures of stress among university students. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 11(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-11-2017-0090

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Story by:
Alexa Delgado, law & justice studies BA/MA accelerated program student

Photos by:
Harley Sarmiento, senior sports communication and media major

Produced by:
Joseph Conte, junior community and environmental planning major

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