Stress is in the Eye of the Beholder

The formative thoughts of a budding millennial on handling college stress. An ode to those who have succeeded college, and an advisor to anyone in or who might soon enterprise college.

“Why is life so hard?”, Something I hear my peers and myself say daily. This phrase, stated by many college undergraduates and graduate students across the nation, is the flag for stress. Millennials are now leaving school to be in the work force as Generation Z is filling their place. Since I am on the cusp of both these generations, I look to my older Millennial comrades to give example of how to deal with this ominous thing called ‘transition’ and ‘college.’ The Millennials, I have seen go before me have the right amount of determination and work ethic to survive the thrills of college, specifically finals season. As I am wrapping up my first dead week and fall quarter, I have compiled an informative guide to help alleviate the abundance of stress that might occur during your time as a student in college.

Before the commentary on stress relief, I must first mention the cure all: positivity. The first and only thing you need to have to survive college is a positive mental attitude. New research in the field of Positive Psychology proves having an optimistic mental state, allows for higher functioning capacity (Costello). One of the greatest examples of the impact of positive thought and its power over stress is a Ted Talk entitled “How to Make Stress Your Friend.” In the video, Kelly McGonigal describes how stress should be thought of as a good attribute of the human psyche. In addition, another research study entitled, “Stress Tolerance: New Challenges for the Millennial College Students,” enlightens the positive attributes of Millennials as High Achievers, Communicators, and Structured Oriented. In accordance with the positive theory, here are three things that you need to keep in my when thinking positive this quarter at college.

1. High Achievers
Millennials have created many of the luxuries most everyone use in their everyday lives. Since our generation believes there is a difference between getting work done and finishing work, my first tip to avoid an overload of stress is to denote a specific time for study. That means, set a certain amount of time dedicated to work. Once you have reached that allotted amount of time, then you have the rest of the night to yourself. This method will leave you with positive built in encouragement for your hard labor. In turn, this will perpetuate healthy habits that promote a balanced mental health.

2. Communication
We Millennials and Generation Z-ers are known for our social culture and communicative tendencies. Apps like Snapchat and Twitter allow us to communicate 24/7. Per the American Psychology Association, communication is a large part of relieving stress. Speaking out about stress or an anxiety to someone trusted can be a form of coping with stress (APA). This means talking to a friend, parent, or online friend is an easy and beneficial way to get rid of dead week jitters. Communication is not limited to just other people; it expands, as the APA suggests, to creating a personal dialog with yourself. Knowing your own personal limits and tendencies is conducive to your mental health and ability to cope with stressors that arrive during your time at college.

3. Structure
As a typical Millennial, I remember being airlifted by my parents from school to late night activities, and back home again. We have learned to thrive in a hectic climate which is why when most of us go to college, there becomes a problem. We lose a strict schedule and the ability to time manage without that extra eye of our parents. Since multitasking is an expertise of many Millennials and Generation Z-ers, it is an almost necessary function of ours to live in a constant moving environment. This leads to why structure is key in minimizing stress. Therefore, my last tip is make a schedule for yourself, with a job, exercise regiment, and study time. Professor Perna of University Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education notes research that proves, working for at least 10–15 hrs a week is conducive to learning. The APA states exercising at least 60 mins a day is a great coping mechanism. Each active innately provides coping mechanism, but on top of that our scatter brains can function with the chaos of a rigid schedule.

So, keep these tips in mind for the following final season, or even if you want for your college career. The life of a college undergraduate or graduate is stressful, but with a little hard work and positive reinforcement you can buff out any obstacle that comes your way.

Works Cited
American Psychology Association. “Stress Tips Sheet.” American Psychology Association. APA, 5 Oct. 2007. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. 
Costello, Carla, and Sharon Stone. “Positive Psychology and Self-Efficacy: Potential Benefits for College Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disabilities.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability 25.2 (n.d.): 119–29. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.
Melton, Bridget F. “Stress Tolerance: New Challenges for Millennial College Students.” College Student Journal, 46 (2012): 362–75. EBSCOhost. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.