Starting Fresh and Keeping Sane for the Spring Semester

By Mac Pomeroy

I’d be lying if I said I’m not absolutely dreading the beginning of the semester. Not that I dislike my major or classes, but I’ll miss being able to just play my gaming system without having to worry about studying or grades. With that being said, I’m also looking forward to having something to do other than sit around all day.

But that still doesn’t mean I’m actually ready for school. Every semester, it seems like no matter how prepared I am for the first week, I want it to be over by the third week. It isn’t because I’m struggling with my coursework; it’s instead because I constantly put an extreme amount of pressure on myself to work hard without actually considering how it will affect my own well-being.

This may seem like a problem that is beneficial to success. However, anxiety and stress are common on college campuses and are not worth sacrificing your well-being for. Every day, students arrive to campus determined to be the “perfect student.” Study hard, get perfect grades and do whatever it takes to succeed.

Often in the struggle to keep up with schoolwork, we let other things slip. We ignore our friends, hobbies, family and, in general, anything that is not related to school. Anxiety about grades can completely take over a person and consume their entire schedule.

This anxiety can be at its peak at the beginning of a new semester. New semesters mean new beginnings and a chance to start fresh. This also means new habits, new everything. The work you did the semester before is over, this is different.

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid all this anxiety. That does not mean we can’t greatly lessen it, though.

This anxiety and stress can be caused by the pressure of a new semester. So, one of the main ways to help reduce it is to remember that, while your grades are important, you are too. I have discussed this in previous columns, but along with making time to study, set some time aside for you. Spend time talking with someone close to you or working on a hobby.

Taking care of yourself is important in order to handle anxiety. Self-care is not selfish.

Another way to handle back-to-school stress is to use campus resources. This is especially important when you find yourself taking a class outside of your comfort zone. Here at Youngstown State University, there are many tutoring options that can help you with your classes. This includes the Writing Center, the Math Assistance Center and the Center for Student Progress.

And if things still feel overwhelming, there are counseling services available on campus. Sometimes anxiety goes beyond what is really in front of you. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help. Trained and capable professionals are available to listen and discuss options.

A new semester can be difficult. It’s natural to be anxious or stressed. However, when these feelings come up, it is extremely important to act. Seek help, and remember that you are not alone.

Have a great spring 2020 semester, Penguins!