I am a second-year engineering major. I tend to be a very academically driven person with high expectations of myself. I love my perseverance, but sometimes my own determination to achieve my goals is my biggest stressor. In my mind I set goals for myself constantly. And naturally when I don’t meet my goals, I am disappointed.

These habits manifest in many facets of my life, but particularly in my academic life. I set goals for tests and grades and expectations for interactions. When I don’t do as well as I would like, it can be rough, and I end up stressed out.

Take midterms, for example. After not doing as well as I wanted on one midterm, I find it hard to pick myself up and keep going and studying for the next midterm. Having multiple midterms close together is hard for me. Sometimes I need to go at a slower pace and that’s okay, but the stress of needing to take it slow can be hard to handle - particularly in school. The result is stress.

To combat stress, which I know can have negative effects on my health, I have found it’s important to come up with methods to recharge and take time for myself. When I am stressed, I won’t take my meds for my ulcerative colitis as consistently. I find it helpful to remind myself taking my meds is an important way to take care of myself so I can keep doing what I love. Participating in clubs and exercising helps keep me grounded. But at a certain point these extras can also add stress. I try to be careful with myself and allow myself to take activities out of my schedule some weeks if they are adding stress to my life instead of joy.

Professors at school know it is a common struggle for students to be hard on themselves. Some of my professors took the time this semester to remind us all we are more than our grades, and that midterms do not reflect how good you are at something. I find this supportive environment beneficial to my well-being and I am happy to be a part of it.

Sometimes it’s enough to just recognize and acknowledge how I feel when I am stressed by school. For me, I tend to feel more nauseous, take my meds less, eat differently, and tend to feel emotionally drained. Though I have dealt with anxiety and stress for a while, it is still hard to find the right balance between acknowledging it and doing something about it. But recognizing that it’s there is a good first step!

To everyone out there dealing with school, midterms, life…and with stress - remember to take care of yourself and reach out to let others know what you need! And I hope you have a healthy rest of the semester!


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