The First Steps in College Life

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Starting college is a new and exciting time. Most Students look back on college life with fond and happy memories. It is a time to learn new skills, meet new people and work towards your dream career. However, the college life does come with a few problems that most students do not prepare for such as high levels of stress, procrastination and sleep deprovision.

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Stress is a unique experience for every individual. However, it is a common problem shared amongst students in higher education. College itself calls for a momentous transition in which students may be challenged with new situations such as new friends, roommates, lifestyle, cultures, different ways of thinking and significant competition within the chosen course. Students facing these problems may find it difficult to cope, leading to high stress, anxiety and even depression. It was found that around 1.8 million students enrolled in U.S Colleges were looking for help within campus counselling centres every year, and around one- third of undergraduates displayed some mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Another study resulted in similar statistic with 1 out of 3 students being described as being anxious or tense, 1 out of 5 being described as depressed and 43 percent stating that they often felt so depressed that it was difficult to get going. However stress can also be looked at as a positive contribution to some students and their work. When students asses their education as a challenge, it is shown that stress can provide them with a sense of competence and a higher ability to learn. A number of measures have taken place to support students in their higher education. These include counselling centres, assigned mentors who can provide personal support and student workshops that focuses on stress management, time management, communication skills and assertiveness. All of these solutions can decrease the stress levels of the students, which in the long run will provide a happier and more relaxed college experience.

Procrastination is the voluntary “delay of an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay”. This is a problem that almost all college students will inevitably face throughout their college years and proves this through their results of a study which showed that 70% to 90% of college students procrastinate. This leads to a poorer performance in college work and overall can reduce the well-being of the individual. There are a number of factors which can lead to procrastination in students and each factor is unique to the individual. These can be poor time management, unreasonable beliefs, fear of failure and even self-doubt and according to teaching students only time management skills will not help with the reduction of procrastination. Rather the treatment is to help the individual develop a non-judgemental acceptance of themselves and the situation at hand. By developing this skill, procrastination may slowly become less of a problem faced by college students.

Just like water, food and air, sleep is a biological necessity that our bodies need in order to function properly and survive. We live in a world that lives off of little sleep because of high caffeine consumption, technology, alcohol and high academic work loads. Due to these factors stated that college students tend to be some of the most sleep-deprived individuals. A survey found that 71% of college students were not reaching the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. Poor sleeping patterns and sleep deprovision can have a serious effect on students’ academic performance and it is during college years were sleep is most needed. A good quality sleep is more than essential for cognitive, physical and even psychological well-being and is most important for students as sleep helps with learning, memory processing, brain development and the repairing of cells, and it is seen that students who lack sleep are seen to have increased daytime tiredness, fatigue and decreased neurocognitive performance.

Transitioning to college is proven to come with insufficient sleep which affects the overall work of a student and is something that every future student should work on eliminating for optimal performance.

To summarize, starting college involves a transition into adulthood that can result in many problems for students and have a great effect on their overall well-being and academic performance if not handled correctly. However it is clear to see that even though these problems are commonly faced among students in third level education, they can be easily managed. College life can still be just as fun and exciting, students just have to prepare and accept the challenges that come with the transition.

07 July 2022

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