A Guide to Eliminating College Stress: How to Have Fun & Stay Sane

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We’ve all been there.  It’s 11:30 on a Tuesday and you are on your third Starbucks iced latte.  The assignment that you definitely should have started two weeks ago looms before you.  Also before you: a blank word document with nothing except an APA header.  College stress has arrived and reared its ugly head.  In that moment, you begin to question everything about yourself, your major, and why you’re doing this whole college thing at all.  

It doesn’t have to be that way!  With good balance, you can avoid those late night library sessions and maybe even have some peace of mind.  With over 60% of students seeking mental health counselling on college campuses reporting anxiety, there appears to be a need for students to have resources regarding self care and work/balance.  So, if you’re looking to learn how to be productive in college while staying sane, look no further!

1. Remain in touch with people at home, such as your family and friends!

Perhaps you were excited to leave home and branch out, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose all those relationships at home!  Call your mom, text your best friend, reach out to that teacher who meant a lot to you. Those people who grew up with you can be the same people who can keep you grounded in this next phase of your life.

Friends From Home

2. Explore off campus

West Chester University’s campus is beautiful – but that doesn’t mean you need to stay on campus all the time!  Take a break from the library and the dining hall, and explore everything your community has to offer. Walk into town and grab a smoothie from Jaco Taco, an (enormous) slice of pizza from Lorenzo’s, or an ice cream cone from the West Chester Coffee and Ice Cream Bar.  Hang out with your friends at the ornate West Chester fountain, or plan a picnic for the beautiful Marshall Square Park. Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy the quaint borough of West Chester in spots other than Main Hall.

Coffee and Ice cream restaurant in west chester

3. Eat Healthy

I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge in the occasional late night slice from Riggtown, or a scoop of cookie dough from Baked, but consider not making these choices every day.  Both Lawrence Dining Hall and the Rams Head Food Court at Sykes have great options for when you’re trying to be healthier. Grab a salad with spinach and fresh veggies from Greens to Go, or grilled chicken and fruit from Lawrence Dining Hall.  Both dining locations post their menus in advance, so you never have to guess what’s for dinner! Also, go easy on the coffee. Those delicious frappuccinos are loaded with fat and sugar. If you must have a caffeine fix, try an iced coffee with light syrup, or an unsweetened iced tea!  (Sometimes you really just need that caffeine fix)Acai Bowl

4. Have fun!  

College is a time of growth and development, but it should also be a time for fun.  Know yourself and know what you need to do in order to balance academics and fun. Maybe you go out with friends Friday night, but then reserve Saturday to get work done.  If you know you can’t work with friends without getting distracted, it is 100% OK to shut yourself away on the quiet floor of the library for a few hours. While you are ultimately there to get an education, don’t spend all your time fretting over due dates and APA format.  It’s important to form connections with your peers. You won’t remember every homework assignment, but you will remember friday nights spent laughing until you cry with your friends.

College Friends

You could be there.  7:00 on a Tuesday night.  Armed with your knowledge of work/life balance at college, you pack your belongings at the library up, and you head back to your room.  You take a shower, make some herbal tea (lemon twist-your favorite), and put on the newest season of your favorite show. You got all your work done in a timely manner, ate reasonably healthy (how are you supposed to resist that soft-serve machine at Lawrence).  As a result, you feel ready for bed and ready to handle all your classes the next day. Nestled in your bed, you begin to remember why you did this whole college thing, and you love it.