Managing Stress in a Learning Environment Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

College life is one of the most memorable experiences in one’s life. When one joins college, she/she begins to enjoy the various academic activities vibrant environment and the company of friends. Besides nurturing adolescents, all these activities combine to prepare one for adulthood. However, from a closer look, while in college, students experience various challenges in their everyday life. The challenges cover the whole idea of a vibrant and exciting college life, contributing to stress. Watson (2012) defines stress as the tension that an individual experiences over a certain duration, which affects all aspects of a person’s life. If not handled properly, stress can escalate and interfere with a student’s social well-being, emotional health, and academic performance.

Sources of Stress

High levels of stress can interfere with a student’s ability to memorize, learn and obtain good grades. Besides these academic impacts, stress can equally affect a student’s emotional, physical and mental health. By learning about the following common stressors, we can help students mitigate chronic stress in their college life.

Academic Pressure

Teachers tend to assign more homework to students in preparation for standardized tests. In most cases, federal and state academic standards placed on teachers and schools are the major cause of increased stress levels experienced by students throughout college. Moreover, schools and parents exert performance pressure on students, which later raises the amount of stress so high that some teachers look at student stress as a health epidemic (Watson, 2012). To deal with this pressure, some high achieving students end up cheating during exams. Constant poor academic grades can make a student to be expelled thereby contributing significantly to student stress levels.

Physical Factors

College students are known to practice unhealthy eating habits, take alcohol and sacrifice sleep for extensive studying. Overall, these activities can compromise their physical health. Some students end up being chronically tired which eventually hampers with their class attendance or performance. Moreover, the students have less energy compared to their peers in good health to commit to their social and academic concerns. As a result, they require more time to study for classes or to perform tasks. The additional time needed for them to achieve their goals is also another contributor to stress.


Life in college is very expensive. Although some students qualify for adequate financial aid and others receive financial support from their parents to cater for their college expenses, others struggle to balance between work-student lives. Individuals who do low-paying jobs earn too little to pay for their book costs, tuition and other expenses while those who earn enough money suffer from stress because of the financial obligations they face. Even those who are eligible for adequate financial aid to cater for their college costs must deal with the stress of knowing that are expected to pay back after graduation. This debt can be a source of stress, even long after one finishes school and enters the job market (Watson, 2012).

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often fierce in college. Students confront pressure from their college peers to experiment with potentially harmful behaviors such as sexual activity, drugs, and alcohol. However, other chose not to engage in such behavior. In such a case, resisting the pressure to fit in is a major contributor to college stress. Students who participate in such behaviors still experience stress, both physical and emotional.

Effects of Stress

When students are exposed to stressors, they experience a range of cognitive, behavioral, emotional and physical reactions. Different people react to stress in different ways. The following are some of the common impacts of stress.

Emotion is one effect of stress. Students are likely to suffer from reduced confidence while around new people, in unfamiliar territories and when they meet new challenges (Seaward, 2017). Students will experience fear of failure because most of the classmates will be ahead regarding academic knowledge. This will make one wish that she/he had paid attention while in class. Moreover, those who have inadequate academic knowledge feel too embarrassed to seek help.

Stress can also affect one’s behavior including mood swings and moodiness (Seaward, 2017). At times, getting to class or schoolwork can become too overwhelming,…

Online Sources Used in Document:


Collins, K. M., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Jiao, Q. G. (2010). Toward a broader understanding of stress and coping: Mixed methods approach. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Pub.

Heiselt, A., & Hughey, A. (2014). College Student Affairs Journal, Volume 32, Issue 1. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.

Seaward, B. L. (2017). Managing Stress: Principles and strategies for health and well-being. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Watson, J. C. (April 01, 2012). Managing College Stress: The Role of College Counselors. Journal of College Counseling, 15, 1, 3-4.

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