College is a lot of fun, but it can also be extremely stressful at times. Mackenzie (‘22, Mill Creek, WA), is a rising sophomore in CAS at UP, pursuing a degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry & Neuroscience. In no particular order, Mackenzie would like to share a few of her best tricks in beating the stress that college (often) throws at you, as well as some of her personal experiences in stressful times during her freshman year.
This may seem counter intuitive at first. When you’re stressed, you’re usually exhausted, and who wants to work out when they’re exhausted? However, I have found that exercise actually boosts my energy by the end of my workout. I am personally a fan of running; I ran cross country and track & field in high school, so running is something that I enjoy as a hobby anyways. Any type of exercise will not only scientifically help you physically and mentally feel better, but it will give you at least 20 minutes to take your mind off everything you have to get done for your classes. I am truly an advocate for exercise; there are so many benefits to it!
2. Get off-campus
Getting off-campus is one of the best ways to yes, procrastinate your work 😊, but also to take a healthy study break and give your mind a rest. In my personal experience, it can be very beneficial to live on-campus as you are close to your classes, the dining hall, the library, etc., but it can also be very difficult in that you feel like you are never getting away from your school life. Leaving campus is such a great way to get your mind off school and on something else for a little bit! My favorite place to go to just walk around is NW 23rd. There are a lot of cute shops & restaurants there, and parking is inexpensive 😊.
3. Listen to music
Listening to music is something that I think almost everyone enjoys. Whether you need a little rock to jam out to, country to hit you in your feels, or rap to hype you up, listening to music never fails to bring my spirits up! On the other hand, I also enjoy listening to music when I’m stressed that I can relate to. The amount of playlists I have on made on my Spotify account for times when I am stressed, anxious, overwhelmed is insane – if you ever need music therapy, I’m the person to come to! (:
I know I’m not the only one who goes through their syllabi at the beginning of the semester and writes down all assignments, projects, presentations, exams, etc. for the entire semester to get everything organized before the semester ramps up. This works great for me; I love seeing what I have due at what times, so that I can plan my work schedule, little weekend trips and adventures, or when people come to visit me. I also like planning for heavy-load weeks. However, it can be pretty overwhelming to look at every single thing I have to do for the next three and a half months. When I feel this way, I like to look at, say, the next week’s work. Then I have a better idea of what my schedule looks like, and I can break down where I am going to put my time for each class. It’s not only good for stress-management, but developing organization skills as well!
Who doesn’t love a good Netflix-binge? I sure do! What better way to relieve some stress than to do literally nothing productive! I wouldn’t recommend binge-watching an entire season with your time (although, I’ve had my fair share of these moments), but a few episodes is a good way to just relax and take your mind off of your many obligations.
6. FaceTime a family member or friend
Contacting a friend or family member from home is a great way to relieve some stress, as well as to connect and touch base with them and see what’s going on in their lives. It’s definitely nice to be able to text my mom, sister, and friends from back home, but there’s something special about being able to see them and hear their voice. I do this at least a few times a week, and it’s super refreshing to get to keep those connections strong and fresh!
7. See friends on campus
One of the best parts of college is getting to live with your friends! There’s never a boring or dull moment because you can just walk down the hall or upstairs to see your best buds. These people will be one of your greatest support systems in college, and will go through a lot of your struggles with you. Having them there to vent to when you find yourself very stressed out, as well as just being able to hang out with them to get your mind off things is super critical to managing stress. My favorite thing to do when I felt overwhelmed was to hit up Pilot House with my girlfriends, grab some food, and take our minds off of school for a bit!
8. Face Masks/Nails
I’m not going to lie – I thought face masks were so overrated before I began college. They just seemed so cliché and I didn’t really see the point of them. Well, that all changed in college. Not only taking the time away from schoolwork for a bit was helpful, but also knowing I was doing something good for myself and my skin was a bonus!
9. Get Enough Sleep
This is something that college students often joke about, but I think it’s something that should be taken a little more seriously. Students’ performances in class and on exams, but also performance in general, decreases significantly when not getting enough sleep consistently. I heard stories prior to entering college about students who would pull all-nighters to finish a paper or study for an exam, and that made me a little nervous entering college. I definitely would have some long days in the library, but I was never there past 11:30 I believe, and even that was pushing it for me. Time management is super crucial in college and if it’s done right, you’ll rarely be pulling all-nighters.
10. Bake something!
This may be more unique to me, but for some odd reason, baking helps me relieve a lot of my stress. I think I enjoy the idea of following an order, and seeing a result maybe? Hmm. I still can’t really pinpoint it. But still..who would turn down a baked good? I sure wouldn’t!
On the flip side, if you don’t have access to an area to bake, go buy yourself a baked good from Mac’s Market 😊.