A recent study conducted in 2018 by the American College Health Association suggested that 31.9% of College students reported feeling stress & anxiety over the past 12 months, and that is just the number willing to admit it. One can only imagine what Covid-19 will do to this statistic, though it is difficult to imagine it improving anxieties given its breadth of unknowns. In fact, the anxious college kid is sort of a cliche, biting his nails, hair frazzled, dirty clothes, in the basement of the library struggling to piece together a soon-due essay for an Anthropology class he barely understands, much less has anything to add to the academic community on it.

Fortunately, there are tried and true techniques to coping with anxiety that accompanies college learning…

  1. Set concrete expectations: for the day, for the week, for the month. Set realistic goals for yourself and track them as you go along. This calms the emotional hemisphere of the brain and grounds the mind.
  2. Recognize Symptoms of Stress: Identifying these symptoms should trigger you to seek extra support:
    • Procrastination and avoidance
    • Changes in sleep habits
    • Changes in eating habits
    • Physical symptoms
    • Social isolation
    • Loss of pleasure
    • Harmful/unhealthy coping behaviors (e.g. use of alcohol and drugs, excessive use of games/social media)
  3. Practice Self Care: Even more important in an environment where these practices tend to be scorned: eating healthy foods regularly, regular sleep habits, regular exercise. While they sound familiar, they’re familiar for a reason… they work to keep the body and mind calm.
  4. Develop Healthy Coping Skills: There are a number of ways to actively combat anxiety, including the following:
    • Learn how to self-soothe
    • Learn to meditate
    • Embrace challenges
    • Take note of micro-successes daily
    • Break down tasks into more manageable components
    • Learn to combat negative self-talk
    • Check in with support network regularly.
  5. Seek Out Resources: Colleges all have health & wellness resources associated with stress and anxiety. additionally, there are a wealth of options online. The Jed foundation houses a number of these resources including Ulifeline.orghalfofus.com Students can directly access a trained counselor through many sites.