Coping with the pressures of school

While substances can be easier accessed, students shouldn’t resort to them

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High pressures in a new environment can be strenuous, but there are ways to destress.

As both incoming and returning students face another college academic year, life can be extremely stressful at times. Whether it be cramming for an exam, pulling all-nighters to finish projects or simply keep up on courses. This stress must be taken care of in a safe manner.

As we’ve seen time and time again, celebrities have resorted to drug and alcohol abuse once launched into an entirely new environment to cope with the newfound pressure. However, these circumstances extend far beyond the upper echelon of celebrities.

Classes returning to an in-person format, set times for classes and exams as well as intense studying and note-taking can cause a toll. Students have found themselves living under new circumstances such as being away from home with fewer rules, while also being surrounded by parties and social events that bring forth various substances.

Some may be tempted to turn to the various drugs and alcohol as a coping method while defending it as the “party scene”, yet that can lead to dangerous consequences. It can take students away from the main focus of schooling and academics, while also posing the possibility of dangerous situations or trouble with law enforcement.

When discussing why unhealthy coping mechanisms are so popular with Bill Burns, Director of the North Dakota State University Counseling Center, he stated, “If someone is feeling very stressed or anxious, they can forget about their problems quickly by getting drunk or high. There are numerous downsides to this way of coping, including that the problem is still there when the person sobers up, that there could be legal and health consequences that come with using alcohol or drugs and that the person using them to cope has not developed healthy coping mechanisms for the next time they feel this way.”

While many may see this as a fun opportunity, there are plenty of other ways to destress and take time away from school in a safe manner.

Burns believes that some of these manners to destress include eating a healthy diet, getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, getting regular exercise, spending time outdoors in the sun and nature, not abusing alcohol or drugs, having a meaningful avocation (hobby) in life and having positive relationships in one’s life. Prevention could also include things like using a journal on a daily basis, seeing a therapist at the Counseling Center or using a prescribed medication for feelings of anxiety and depression.

In terms of remaining academically inclined, Burns believes that meeting with your advisor, going to class and catching up on assignments, talking to professors as needed and taking advantage of ACE tutoring and other academic resources on campus are all important to a student’s coursework and priorities in their education.

Meeting new people through classes, dorms, apartments, clubs and other campus events allows people to have a fun social circle outside of school and partying. Furthermore, NDSU hosts a wide range of engaging events throughout the school year.

Often hosted on campus at the Memorial Union, NDSU provides varying events featuring comedians and live performers that can be attended for free with an NDSU student ID. Other events include canvas painting, bingo and tie-dye nights. There is also the Memorial Union cinema that offers different movies weekly in the second floor movie theater.

The city of Fargo offers plenty of events that can be attended for free, such as the upcoming local food truck festival. These are just a few of the many ways to go out and have fun without coping with many different pressures in a dangerous way.

When asked about resources for our community’s students that may be struggling with these pressures, Burns stated, “NDSU has many resources for students feeling stressed and overwhelmed, all of these can help in both preventing and recovering from these feelings. Depending on the individual, these resources would include the Counseling Center, Student Health Service, Disability Services, Career and Advising Center, Wellness Center, ACE Tutoring and TRIO”.

While academics and focusing on school is important, it’s also just as essential to build a social circle and enjoy time outside of classes in a brand new environment. Dealing with potential stress can be done in endless ways, but it’s important to cope positively and enjoy a college experience that will never be forgotten.

NDSU’s Counseling Center is located in Ceres Hall where students can access counseling services at no additional cost.

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