4 MIN READ | Mental Health

Helen Bradfield

5 Most Common Causes of Stress in College and How to Deal with Them

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Helen Bradfield, (2021, June 9). 5 Most Common Causes of Stress in College and How to Deal with Them. Psychreg on Mental Health. https://www.psychreg.org/common-causes-stress-college-how-deal-with-them/
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Students in college go through various stages of exposure and growth during their time in college. And as young adults, they are exposed to the vast outside world along with a lot of new information. To a lot of students, their college experience can be fresh, exciting, and fun. But, everyone is not equipped to deal with different situations the same way as others.

Some may find it hard to retain new information, keep up with their coursework, handle daily pressures and stress, socialise, and more. If students cannot take better care of these, they might get more anxious and stressed out. This can invite other negative issues impeding a good experience.

Students should always pay closer attention to their health and well-being needs. They should also learn to take active steps towards smoothening their educational process. This includes taking days off, meeting with close ones, outsourcing extra work to rewrite my essay services, or pursuing a hobby. Handling stress at all times can be challenging for anyone. Thus, students should never hesitate to reach out for help.

Here are the most common causes of stress in students and how to better deal with them.

Increased social interactions and peer pressure

College is the usual time in life when adolescents turn into young adults. At this age, the drive to explore all types of experiences is at its peak. It is a place where students from various backgrounds meet with each other in one place. During this time, they often adopt new behaviours to fit in with the people they want to impress or be friends with.

Although most students have similar aspirations and goals, they are all still different people from within. Not everyone is socially gifted when young. And in some cases, exposure to a lot of people and interactions can be problematic for some to handle.

Adopting positive habits and routines enables students to focus only on the essentials. This helps them achieve their goals and improve their well-being. They should focus on making real friends whose company brings growth and joy to their life. Thus, social batteries should always be conserved for fruitful interactions only.

Poor relaxation and sleeping habits

Not everyone realises the importance of relaxation and sleep for their health and well-being. For some, it may take an alarming wake-up call in the guise of illnesses and other adverse outcomes. One of the most vital benefits of sleep is that it allows the body and mind to recover and grow. This is especially true during one’s early and formative years.

Research suggests that poor sleep quality in students is linked to increased short-term and long-term stress. Without enough sleep, they will not be able to concentrate in class and experience low energy.

An excellent way to get better relaxation is to create relevant goals and reward systems. An appropriate example is studying for two hours and taking a break for an hour. An excellent way to get better sleep is to finish most work during the day and avoid the screen before going to bed.

Increasing academic workload

Although frowned upon, several educational institutions continue to place a higher value on quantity rather than quality. Testing students by piling them up with heaps of course-related work is quite typical today. This type of system is designed to keep students busy with their education instead of easily getting distracted. But this doesn’t always work out in favour of students.

Students who are not too good at handling regular pressure cannot perform like those who can. If this persists, they can lose motivation and adopt unhealthy behaviours. This further leads to a decline in their performance and productivity which adds to the overall frustration and stress.

Students should take active steps to enhance their approach towards their educational process. Setting daily timetables for work, regularly recording progress, seeking professional help for extra work, and maintaining an organized workspace can help students perform better.

Increased consumption of harmful substances

College is a time when a lot of young adults experiment with a variety of substances. But most of the time, these take a toll on their health and well-being. Physically, they may feel more tired, lazy, and weak. Mentally, they can feel more confused, disoriented, and stressed out.

Some of the substances that college students may regularly use are alcohol, marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, tobacco, and caffeine. Research has shown that at least 70% of students in college admit to binging on alcohol. They are also known to consume substances that enhance their concentration and focus.

Students should realise that a healthy body harbours a healthy mind. Thus, they should focus on nurturing their bodies and treating them well from an early age. To understand this better, they should be exposed to better education related to self-care and well-being.

Lack of a dedicated support system

Over time, stress can lead to various mental health illnesses like anxiety, depression, insomnia, addiction, and more. Today, a lot more students are actively seeking professional help in managing their increasing stress. But, the overall facilities and systems still lack the appropriate infrastructure to deal with the problem.

Students also need regular help with their general coursework during college. If they fail to get their support, their work process can get disrupted, which adds to the stress. Some dedicated systems can be student councils, study groups, and mental health consultations.

Students should join good support groups, speak to their closest ones, seek professional help, and do more of what they’re passionate about. Also, focusing on improving well-being through natural ways like better nutrition, fitness, and sleep can work like a charm.


A student’s college experience should always be fun and memorable. But they should also understand that handling stress associated with their education is also part of the journey, as it is with real life.

Mental health issues faced by college students are on the rise. Thus, adults should focus on creating an environment that can help resolve stress-related problems as these can lead to more issues in the future. It is time for educational institutions to pay closer attention to the needs of students that have been overlooked for far too long.

Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has a particular interest in mental health and well-being.

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