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Stress, as defined in the Longman Dictionary, is the continuous feeling of worry about your work or personal life that prevents one from relaxing or feeling at ease. Every student and adult faces stress at one point or another in their life. Stress is considered to be an overreaction to a specific situation. Students however, face a lot of stress in their academic life, as they are under a lot of pressure to perform well. However, stress is not always a bad thing, as it often helps to stimulate the brain so that it keeps us going. It is especially useful when we are in tough situations, such as in an examination hall, where we have that pressure to perform well and anxiety levels are high.
Some students work better under stressful circumstances, whereas, others do not. In fact, stress is often needed as it helps us reach certain goals that we would not have attained or accomplished otherwise if it were not for the stress. Everyone handles stress in various forms and methods. Some people exhibit stress through their behavior. Certain individuals indulge in unhealthy behavior such as eating too much, resorting to alcohol consumption or even taking illegal narcotics. They participate in this type of behavior because they think it will help them cope with the stress. Some people even get into fights with others as they do not know how else to deal with their stress. People who are too stressed tend to also fall ill and get headaches often. Nonetheless, stress can be controlled in many ways. Yoga is one of the proven methods that can help to alleviate and to reduce stress levels so that students are able to cope with their college lives. This essay will expand upon how academic success of college students are affected by various sources of stress.
Many students face stress in either college or school due to their past academic records. Past academic records can affect your current level of stress, especially if you have not done well in the past before. This is because, if an individual was very successful in the past, they can be under tremendous amounts of stress, to maintain that level of success. In today’s society, a person’s image is shaped by their academic results, which is why, scoring well in school or college is held with the utmost importance, in a student’s life. Many students perform well in school, however, when they move onto college, the same studying technique that was previously used in school does not seem to work, and so they get stressed when they are unable to perform as well. When they are unable to perform as well as expected, some students tend to speak negatively to themselves. Doing this causes them to gradually start believing in it, thus causing further deterioration in their grades. This can be avoided by resorting to displaying their stress through their feelings instead. Pouring out their feelings to a friend, who can then understand what they are going through and help them get out of that mindset by providing them with positive reinforcements.
Social factors also contribute to stress in a student’s life. A student not only has to deal with his past academic records, but also his peers. In college, a student comes across other students who are maybe just as brilliant as him in academics, so he has to compete with them to outperform them. This can cause an immense amount of stress in a student. When in college, a student is also in an unfamiliar environment, and this can also stress him because he does not know his surroundings. Along with adapting to his new environment, he also has to get along well with his peers as he might be grouped up with them when it comes to group assignments. Students often also get stressed thinking about their future career, so they get pressured by the friends to take up certain courses.
When a student joins college, his family has very high expectations of him because his job prospects in the future will be based on how he performs in college. “Education is a shared commitment between dedicated teachers, motivated students and enthusiastic parents with high expectations” (Bob Beauprez, n.d). Parents often pressurize their kids to ensure they do well. Students often feel stressed due to the inability to live up to their expectations. This stress in turn affects their performance further. Parents in Asian societies often compare their kids to their siblings or other family members’ kids and tell them that they need to perform well in their studies or the family would lose loss of face. Parents in some cultures also do not let their child have a say in their future occupation. For example, some Asian families expect their sons to be doctors because the job pays well. In addition, a career in the medical sector is highly revered and highly respected in society. When such an expectation is put on the child, he stresses out even more.
School fees and college fees are often worlds apart. When college fees are this expensive, not all students can afford this, so many of them take loans from banks to finance their education. If their performance drops below their expectations, they start getting worried and tensed because they have student loans to pay off at the end of their college. Some students also apply for scholarships to fund their college education when they perform extraordinarily in school. Those with scholarships, need to maintain a certain GPA in all their semesters so that they can hold onto their scholarship. Many times, students also have situations during their academic life, where a family member unexpectedly passes away. When this happens, they get very distracted from their education and are unable to focus on what is being taught in class. This lack of focus, often causes them to lag behind in classes. This lag, stresses them out too, because they may have a fear of losing out.
There are my ways how students can cope with stress. “My key to dealing with stress is simple: just stay cool and stay focused.” (Ashton Eaton, n.d.) Many schools have peer support groups where students can help one another overcome troubles they are facing in college, such as difficulties with their assignments or stress, in this case. Talking to someone about it can definitely help reduce their stress levels and improve their performance in their academics. Students can also seek a guidance counsellor in school to talk about their problems. It is crucial to take care of stress before it escalates into a very serious issue. If they’re too stressed out, it can affect their sleep and their attitude towards their studies. If students are getting stressed out due to multiple essay deadlines, they should change their thinking and focus on one essay or assignment at a time. Even if they have multiple assignments and deadlines, they should split their workloads over several days, and work on it step by step, this will really help alleviate stress. As said earlier, students also get stressed due to the expectations their parents have on them. The student should keep his parents’ expectations in mind, but also lower his own expectation, so that it doesn’t put undue pressure on him/her. When studying for long periods of time, students may get stressed as they feel they will not remember everything. This is only the case if they study at the last minute. The student should create a study timetable and stick to it, achieving deadlines, one step at a time. Students also often get stressed out when they are running late for a class. They should practice the habit of waking up early and being early to class, this will help eliminate stress early in the morning. (Leo Babauta, 2007). This will help them a lot.
In conclusion, stress is harmful to a student’s success in academics. Student performances are known to be heavily affected due to stress. This is why students should learn to make a study plan to stay organized. Students should also make write their notes in short forms, so they can learn easily and understand the subject better. This way, they will not get stressed out at the inability to understand a topic. For studying, they should make a checklist and accomplish a little bit every day, instead of studying at the last minute.
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