The Life and Times (and Stress) of the Modern Student

Well folks, the semester is drawing to an end. That means it’s time for dreams of barbeques and swimming pools, but before that, we have to make it through endless papers, tests, presentations, and all the other fun that school gives us right before the semester ends. I can’t help but notice that students are already becoming a bit frayed around the edges, myself included. Every end of the semester, the stress starts to get to people, piling up and up until you’re just about to explode into a cloud of Wikipedia and Red Bull. But, as a soon-to-be graduating senior, I have to reflect on all this. How does this keep happening? Why do we keep putting up with this craziness? I decided to look at some books ABOUT college life, and how all this stress keeps happening. After checking these titles out for good info, I got some ideas on ways to finally defeat that end of the semester panic.
                                    How to Win at College: Cal Newport
There are many books out there for students just getting started, or for those who are having a rough patch in college later on. Newport’s book is easy to read, and has a wide variety of topics. Granted, the book came out in 2005, so it is a little bit dated (not one Instagram reference? For shame!), but the advice itself is still perfectly good. Each chapter focuses on a different college strategy, focusing on both big tips, like being willing to drop bad classes, and making safe decisions involving alcohol, to small day to day tips, like making your bed to feel more organized, and learning a new joke every day to keep your spirits up. There are 75 tips in this series, all taken from graduating students, and almost all of them are ones I can very much recommend. The very last tip is to have no regrets, and I feel like if you can make it through college with no (or at least few) regrets, you have done pretty darn well.
                                           The Secrets of College Success: Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman  
If you’re interested in more about how college works, and why we have so much stress, check out this online book that can give you up to date information about life in college! OK, you’re already in college, but still! The thing about undergraduate life that seems to really stress people out is how everything seems to pile up near the end. All the homework due, all the tests happening, every extracurricular is wrapping up this year’s work and planning for next year, trying to get summer plans situated(or in my case, graduation plans)– it can all be so overwhelming. To combat this, this book strongly suggests spreading deadlines out as much as possible, not allowing everything to happen at once. I like that particular advice, and a lot of the other things about this book. Published in 2010, it’s more up to date, and its style is easy to read while still sounding intelligent. If you want more information about college life, and ways to plan for next year, give this book a read!
 
                 Millennials Go to College: Neil Howe and William Strauss
Millennials, for the record, are our older siblings and us. The generation that was born beginning around 1982 and where that ends sort of shifts around, but it probably ends around….the mid-to-late 90s? I don’t know, no one seems to be able to tell for sure. But it covers most traditional students in college right now, and from what I read, the millennials are presenting something of a challenge. For one thing, we are crazy overworked. This generation of teens and 20- somethings are very work driven, constantly trying to get the edge, and be “the best”. That pressure can make the already stressful world of college into even more of a mine field of late nights and eye twitching. This book discusses the traits of many Millennials, and how they learn and function. I like this book, and I do think it is more fiar to this generation than a lot of other writers seem to be. It discusses the  two things common to complaints about our generation (entitled, obsessed with tech) and the good things (more tolerant, hardworking), and how they affect our time in college. Published in 2007, this book is a little dated (apparently Facebook was a hot new thing when this book came out), but its points are legit. It can give more answers as to why we are just so dang stressed.
Having fun ripping your hair out and banging your head against the wall? Well, don’t worry, you are not alone! Stress this time of the year is perfectly normal, and at least it means you care enough to get stressed. Look at these books, and see how many students are going through the same thing  you are! And it’s not new to this generation- imagine your mom typing her 20-page poli sci paper on a typewriter, no delete key, no insert key, no automatic header function……This is my final end of semester here at USI, so I know what I am talking about when I say that it’s really not so bad to be stressed.  It’s normal, and while it’s inevitable, you can try to control it because  school is important and all that and it’s  worth it in the end. Want to know ways to beat the stress? Tune in next time to find out!   
 
CP
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