Stress free at college

The Secret To Living 100% Stress-Free At College Did Not Come Easily For Me, But It Can For You

I used to be the textbook definition of an anxious person who stressed about literally everything, big or small.

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College is one of the most exciting and fun places to be, but it can also be the most overwhelming and stressful environments possible, but only if you let it be.

The sophomore year of the college version of myself has come a very long way, however; the freshman year of high school version of myself was a completely different story.

I used to be the textbook definition of an anxious person who stressed about literally everything, big or small. Anxiety caused by stress is the absolute worst. Especially when you are stressing over something you know you should not have to get all worked up over.

Freshman year of high school, my heart raced a little too fast every time the words "test," "quiz," "project," or "reading assignment" were spoken.

I was constantly on edge about everything and could never sit still and feel content with my life.

In addition to feeling stressed about school, my relationships, and having to function as a normal human every day, I had severe cystic acne I was extremely insecure about. My acne made me feel absolutely terrible about myself and I wanted to hide and not leave the house because that meant other people would have to see my acne. I got on Accutane, which has a grocery list of side effects, one being depression.

I became extremely depressed and it was a very scary feeling. It could be the sunniest and beautiful day ever, but I felt like I was stuck hundreds of feet inside a dark cave. Feeling depressed and on edge is not beneficial to anyone's health, and I'm glad I finally realized a change needed to be made because I could not live like this anymore.

I went to my doctor and expressed my concerns and let her know exactly how I was feeling. We discussed my options and the one we decided on was going on an antidepressant. It sounded scary at the time, but now it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Taking an antidepressant is one of the main reasons I am able to live this relatively stress-free lifestyle. I probably do not NEED to take this medication anymore, but the way it has enabled me to slow down and relax in all aspects of life is something I am not willing to give up.

One philosophy I have developed over the past four years is to stop doing the things that are creating unnecessary stress and anxiety in your life. It almost sounds overly simplified, but it's actually super difficult for most people to do.

Applying this to school is one of the hardest things for college students, but I believe it is more than doable! Studying is great and necessary to make good grades, but the second you feel yourself getting worked up over the material, put it down. Either keep it down, or pick it back up, but only when you have returned to a normal and relaxed mental state.

No class, assignment, or exam is worth risking your mental health over. It simply is not. Living simply and listening to your body is the number one way you can live a stress-free life. If you ignore the signs and disregard how anxious a particular activity or person is making you feel, you are only damaging and hurting yourself.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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Celebrating 1 Year Sober

Self-harm free is a better me.

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This has truly been a challenging year for me. I have literally hit my rock bottom and tried to end it all. Eventually, I found my way out of the dark side through a week-long stay in a psychiatric unit.

This year has made me feel weak, small, empty, forgotten, unloved, and immensely broken.

But I made it.

I didn't try to end my life nor make myself feel pain for one whole year. Before this breakdown, I hadn't self-harmed in nearly six years, but sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom to realize you need help.

Getting better and keeping myself safe from me was not an easy job. The first six months, I literally fooled myself into thinking that I was doing better. I got out of the hospital and said, "I'm healed. I'm better. I don't need the medicine, and I don't need the therapy. I'm fixed."

I had convinced myself that a week-long stay in the hospital was a fix-all.

I was wrong.

Fighting mental illness is not something that can be solved in a day, week, month, or even a year. This is going to be a battle that I will have for the rest of my life. I will need a therapist for most of my life if I want to stay on the wagon, and I've finally accepted it.

I'm very thankful for my support system, the people who stayed there and continued to help me understand why I deserved to feel better about myself. While the people who only cared for a day thought they were helping, it really made me feel more alone once they left again.

So, a true extra thank you to the people that were amazing enough to stay by my side through the worst times of my life.

I strongly encourage anyone struggling with self-harm to seek the help they need. One of the biggest motivators for me was that I didn't want my younger siblings or cousins to have to attend a memorial or funeral for me. I try to set an example for them, and the best example I've done so far is getting the help I desperately needed.

One year self-harm free and many more to come.

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