Don’t let yourself get lost in the shuffle

With only a handful of weeks until the end of the semester, the final stretch of stress is real.

At the beginning of every school year, it’s hard not to be optimistic. Campus is full of excitement, and there are new experiences everywhere.

But that excitement eventually fades away, and all we are left with as students is stress and the fact that there is no choice but to carry on with the promise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Because our student population on campus is so diverse, there are so many different kinds of student journeys – some students are parents; some students work while going to school; and others are living far from home and balancing adapting to a new place of living all while trying to stay afloat grade wise.

Balancing school is tough, and there are factors that go into doing well in school and managing life, while also prioritizing physical and mental wellness.

Being knowledgeable of your needs and aware of what brings positive energy to your life is key to finding a school, work and life balance that’s most functional for you.

Sometimes the biggest struggle to overcome in school-related stress is processing your own expectations and managing them to fit your lifestyle – your course load, your job or amount of time socializing are things that all come into play here.

We tend to look at each other as competition when it comes to environments like school or work, but sometimes the highest expectations we have to manage are within ourselves.

By managing our own expectations, we save pain and disappointment when things don’t work out the way we want them to, whether that’s because of choices that we’ve made or because sometimes life doesn’t always play out the way we plan.

Some of those expectations might be as basic as not studying as much as you would like to in a week, or not having a paper done by the time you would have liked to. However, some of the expectations are on a larger scale, like taking exactly four years to get through college or having a “real job” by age 24.

These are all things that come in due time. There is no time limit on success or a dream.

When we learn to manage those expectations, we learn enough about ourselves to create an understanding of what we can or can’t handle at any given time.

Taking pressure off yourself can manifest itself in different ways. There are traditional ways of self-care that include taking a night off and watching TV or taking a bubble bath with your favorite Lush bath bomb, but every person has his or her own version of self-care.

Whatever you choose to do for self-care depends on preference, but true self-care comes from doing things that feed your soul. By doing what you love and finding an outlet that way, it becomes easier to manage stress that could make anyone feel like the sky is falling.

That outlet can be anything, but making sure that you have an outlet is key.

Part of finding that outlet could be finding friends in different communities that feed your soul the same way your methods of self-care do. Creating and cultivating friendships with people you can talk to about anything without fear of judgment make things like all-nighters a lighter burden.

College is not the first or last time anyone will be asked to make hard decisions and reprioritizing things in life, but it may be the first time you have to be conscious of it.

Take some time to figure out what you need and how to take care of yourself. It may seem like a large investment of time and energy, but there is no doubt that it is worth it.