College Stresses: How to Keep Calm and College On

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College is a magical land filled with crazy memories, experiences unlike any other and friends worth keeping. It is, however, also filled with stressful classes, big life moments that’ll scare your socks off and overpriced everything. It’s no wonder a lot of students are stressed to the max during most of their college days. We all know that it isn’t all fun and games; here are some techniques that can make the less fun moments more doable.

Textbooks and Their Expensive Taste

Soaring textbook prices are the bane of every college students’ existence. Ohio University sophomore Jennifer Imel knows there is no complete way around this stress bomb, but she likes to think outside the box to soften the blow. “I only want to spend as much as I make,” she said. “If textbooks cost me $200 then I don’t want to buy anything else until I have that $200 back.” It’s a different type of safety net when it comes to buying textbooks, but holding back on other purchases until you make that money back will definitely keep you and your bank account happier.

Public Speaking Class

This is it. The dreaded public speaking course. Giving five to seven minute speeches while standing in front of a room filled with students can make your heart skip more than just one beat. The shaking hands and the trembling voice is enough to give the audience anxiety. It is no easy task to get past, but one of the best techniques for mastering a mid length speech is the usual advice: practice practice practice. Actually using the time that you are given will result in a sweet victory. If anything, give Ohio University senior Diana MacDonald’s technique a try. “Go in with confidence, and if you don’t have confidence, then pretend you have some,” she said. “It’s like if you’ve ever pretended to smile before and it makes you feel better.” Tricking yourself into confidence is better than no confidence.

Having Nothing in Common with a Roommate

Who knew your new roommate would have absolutely nothing in common with you? Fortunately, this step can be easily overcome. Communication is key. Talking it out is the first and most important step to at least coexist, but since you’re both on the same plate here it wouldn’t hurt to try and pass that coexisting point. Eating, watching movies, studying or going out together may relieve some of the stressful tension.

Off-Campus Housing

Finding an apartment or house to live in that satisfies your price, location to campus and available appliances like a dishwasher isn’t as stress soaked as it seems. The overarching technique for this is to start the search as early as a year before you move in. Keep a lookout for unethical rent prices as well. Unfortunately this is something that happens often, so ask students who already live off-campus where the best bang for your buck will be; this is an easy and effective way to keep the search calm and collected.

Financial Stress

There is no way around the deafening blow that comes with having to pay off student loans. It may seem like good news when you don’t have to pay back anything until six months after college, but the interest on the loans will accrue and you’ll end up paying back way more than necessary. The best way to stop this from happening is to pay the interest off while in college. Paying off the trivial amounts of interest once or twice a month while in college will lead to owing less in the long run.

The Old “Laptop deleted my Paper” Tragedy

You’ve just put the finishing touches on that ten-page paper you slaved away at for two agonizing weeks only to find that your laptop has peculiarly summoned the blue screen of death. With all of your work gone and the deadline tomorrow, it only seems right to just lie down and cry yourself to sleep—except you’re a fighter, and you know how to solve this. Start off with a well-written email to the professor and have proof that you did have something by showing an old draft that you saved. If the professor has any sort of conscience they will extend the deadline.

Applying for Grad School

So you want to go to grad school? That’s great. All you have to do is fill out the application, have three references on hand, write a ten-page paper on what you learned from college and another essay on why you want to go to that school. It seems daunting but remember that procrastination is the mortal enemy of a college student. Kasey Brooks, a senior at Ohio University, knows how to take procrastination by the horns. “What I usually do with anything is print off a bunch of calendars,” she said. “I would write down when specific scholarships were due, buy folders and stamps and compile a list of where to send them.” Organization is a great tool to enhance your desire to finish those pesky applications.

 Finding a Job for after College

There is nothing more terrifying than starting the winter break of your senior year with no job offers. Fear not, it happens to the best of us. Recent Ohio University graduate Felice Schwarz knows this all too well. “To cope with the stress I made sure to have a good work-life balance. It’s easy to let stress overwhelm you, so for me it was important to set time aside for fun,” she said. This fun can range anywhere from baking obscene amounts of cookies to a belligerent night on the town. So let loose and keep away from the mindset of all work and no play.

Matt Howard is a junior at Ohio University studying Advertising while specializing in English and Creative Writing. He strives to become the Doctor's next companion while writing about the topics that deserve recognition.

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