Stress and University

Stress & University, Pt. I


With my undergrad career finally reaching its final chapter, I’ve been looking back on the past three to four years with a different perspective. Most students go into university prepared for a high stress level and more difficult academics. However, each student’s college experience is different and college is much more than academic stress. I’m starting this mini series called “Stress & University” to reflect on my highest peaks of stress in university. Each part will recount how I dealt with stress and how I learned from it. My goal with releasing these articles not only is to educate those entering university, but as a form of self regulation as well.

Part I, A Synopsis

Part one of my “Stress & University” series is the article you’re reading right now: an introduction to what the series is, what to expect from future articles, and a guidebook for future entries. This will not be a structured series; I am not starting this series with a set amount of parts in mind. WashU 360 has been a challenging job for me. It can be hard knowing what to tell about your story and what to keep to yourself. Sometimes, just coming up with regular ol’ ideas just takes too much brain power. I realize that soon, I won’t have this platform to tell my story anymore, which is why I came up with this miniseries.

If there is anything I’ve experienced constantly during my time at university, it’s stress. That may seem pessimistic, but hear me out. Stress is sometimes the only fuel that keeps your car going in university. It helps you get that paper completely done before midnight, writes emails to professors, and reminds you of that assignment you forgot to do last night. However, stress can always get out of hand.

It can be heavy, haunting, and a huge bummer. It shuts down parties, makes your “breaks” feel not-so-much like breaks, and prevents you from sleeping. Stress has many forms; I wish I knew more about how stress would manifest itself in more ways than the one I expected back when I was a freshman. Due to this realization, I’ve decided to document some of my experiences with stress during university. I don’t have all the answers–no one does, and no one ever will. However, sharing my experiences is better than letting those experiences go to waste.

Part II, Common Stressors

In part two, I will evaluate some of the common universal stressors incoming university students. When talking amongst peers, it becomes clear that there are a list of things that students aren’t alone in struggling with. This includes minor struggles such as unexpected seasonal sicknesses and major interruptions such as loss.

Part III, Personal Struggles

The third part of the Stress and University series evaluates the potential of isolating and unique personal stressors that can and most likely will occur during your undergraduate university experience. This includes but isn’t limited to balancing potential familial emergencies, health issues, and loss with academic performance and coursework.

Part IV, Options & Resources

In the fourth part of this series, I will present a list of actions, hobbies and exercises that I or other peers have personally used to cope with a wide variety of stressors while in undergrad. These activities could not only to be applied strictly to anyone’s personal situations, but the purposes they serve can be utilized to help in relieving the daily stress of undergrad life.

At the end of this article, I will also be listing some resources that are located on campus and through WashU that are there for students going through struggles. Some are organizations or programs while others could be grants or academic opportunities given to students who need support during distressing times.

Part V, Conclusion

The final part of this series will fittingly be titled the Conclusion. I will wrap up and summarize again the key points and takeaways from each section of “Stress and University”. Not only will it include more detailed recaps, but it will also describe the key takeaways of each section. Additionally, the second half of the article will be my personal experience with stress in university.

This conclusion will include how I handled and the resources I utilized to balance the stress. There, I will share thoughts about how stress can be appropriately handled in university and an overall thesis regarding self-care and the effects it has on academic performance.

That being said, this is the end of the first part of “Stress and University”! I look forward to sharing so many experiences and knowledge I have on the topic. I will discuss skills that are able to be used not only throughout the collegiate experience, but also going forward into adult life. Thank you for reading and hope you tune in to my future articles!


Allana Thompson