“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go, they merely determine where you start”
The constant pressure to succeed can cause turmoil in the heads and hearts of even the best. Stepping into the ‘real world’ after school is a stressful, scary experience, leaving most quaking in their boots. For the most part, individuals are certain of their capabilities till they remain sheltered by parents, teachers, friends, and the comfort of a hometown. The insecurity sets in once all this is taken away, and replaced with a completely foreign environment and alien people. Everybody has their own coping mechanisms to deal with various adversities. For many people social settings or situations, or a change in them, are triggers for anxiety, which in turn may lead to serious mental health concerns. Apart from anxiety, the foreign environment and University culture, may give rise to other stress-induced mental health concerns as well.
What follows are examples of stress-inducing scenarios that many encounters over the three years of college, and how to actively cope with them.
Year one is stressful mainly due to the new environment, foreign people, different methods of teaching, and (for outstation students) the alien city. You may feel overwhelmed by the fast moving busy life of a metropolitan if you’re from a small town. People may not be as kind, and the diversity in people may scare you. The pressure to get into college societies, at the same time, coming to terms with the fact that there are people smarter or more talented than you, can be hard. The best way to maintain some peace of mind in between all this chaos would be to have no expectations. Expectations most often if not always, lead to disappointment. Having a clear head and ‘going with the flow’ can really help in terms of relieving stress-inducing thoughts to ‘be the best’. Understanding that there will always be someone better, and that you have to learn to accept yourself for who you are, are key to staying sane.
Year two is known for one of the most important stressors, namely internships. For most people this is the first time they are interning, inducing anxiety about the work environment, bosses, and mainly, securing an internship. Understanding a work environment and how things are done can take years if not months. Not worrying about ‘fitting in’ or impressing your boss, are solid steps one can take to relieve anxiety. People may even experience disappointment upon not getting substantial work whilst interning. Instead of focusing one’s energy on what is not happening, looking at the job as a learning experience is a step in the right direction.
Year three could easily be deemed as the most stressful of all three years. Important decisions regarding working, studying, or taking a gap year, are inevitable. Watching your peers get their desired jobs/Universities may add to the already mounting pressure. Taking things at one’s own pace and understanding your own capabilities come first and foremost. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on what interests you and match that with your aptitude for best results.
College is a rollercoaster ride, with many ups and downs. Going with the twists and turns, and learning from every up and down, will make you more self-aware as a person and help you cope better with the pressures of life.
Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times