Motion City Soundtrack’s song “The Future Freaks Me Out” is a title I can easily relate to. How about you? How many times were you asked those questions your senior year of high school, that may or may not have made you freak out a little bit. I know I did. “What’s next?” or “what do you want to do?” When I was asked those questions, sometimes I knew the answer and sometimes I didn’t. And that’s because I had no idea what I was going to do in the next four (which turned into five) years at Rowan. I didn’t know I was going to change my mind about my career three times. I didn’t know I was going to mess up in school a little bit. I really didn’t foresee having $3 in my bank account at the end of my junior year. I know for a fact I am not alone. It’s really hard sometimes for someone that young to know exactly what they want to do with their lives. Don’t get me wrong, of course there are tons of people who knew exactly what they wanted to do when they graduated high school, but how about now? Maybe experiencing college made you see things in a different light.
Even though it’s only October, college graduation is quickly approaching. Just like high school senior year, I’ve been getting those same irritating questions that I have to answer constantly. This time I luckily have somewhat of a plan, however I also have a plan B, and even a plan C. I have no idea what to expect is going to happen with my life in eight months. And you know what? It makes me extremely stressed out. I lose focus in class sometimes just worrying about the future. Sometimes I even feel my face getting warm and my hands clam up. These are physical symptoms of stress. What does that say? If you have no idea what you want to do, WHO CARES? We are in our early 20’s. This is supposed to be our time to live our lives, to make mistakes, and enjoy what the world has to offer. If you don’t have a clue of what you’ll be doing come May, relax and take a deep breath. Everything will work itself out. If you’re as stressed out as me, here are some of the things I do that works to relive that bad stress:
Lean on your support system. Luckily I have the most amazing support system I could have asked for. My parents have been behind me in all my academic struggles, and professors who have complete faith in me. I have great friends and an amazing boyfriend who I can go to for support and love. Utilize these people in your lives. Vent to them, ask for advice, and just ask them if they would be a listening ear. Or just go have some fun with them and get your mind off your troubles.
Go to the gym. Only have time for a half hour cardio session? That’s fine! It’s actually recommended for us to get 30 minutes of exercise five times a week in order to be healthy. When I’m super stressed out, I notice a huge improvement in my mood after an intense 30 minutes on the elliptical or bike. If you’re not a gym person, try going on YouTube or On Demand. There are tons of workouts on there that you could do at home. Pinterest is an excellent online source of exercises! You might be surprised at how energized you feel after a good gym session, not to mention all the health benefits from it.
Take a nap. Who doesn’t like to nap? I haven’t met many people who don’t enjoy a good nap. Change into comfy pants and a shirt, climb into bed, take a few deep breathes, and go to sleep! I used to think that napping wasn’t a good way to relive stress because I was avoiding my problems. Wrong! It’s actually a great way to relieve stress, and of course to reenergize yourself to take on the rest of your day.
Participate in an activity that you enjoy. I like baking and cooking. Pinterest is my go-to, and I have found such great recipes. Most recently when I was stressed, I made these awesome tropical chicken skewers with rice and corn as side dishes. It took my mind off my worries and I jammed to some Disney songs and became Rachel Ray in my kitchen.
Open up a book and read. Yeah, remember those? Put down your phones, iPads, tablets, laptops, and read a good book. This is a great way to relieve stress, unless you’re reading the hunger games or something. Then you’re just going make your blood pressure go right back up because that series is INTENSE.
Take advantage of the free things here at Rowan. On our campus there are tons of resources that we have at our fingertips for FREE. If you need help studying for a test, Rowan offers free tutors. Our very own Healthy Campus Initiatives has workshops and events that you may attend to learn about stress and anxiety, and how to take control over it. The counseling center is also a great resource. Use what’s here, it could be very beneficial.
Lastly, think about the now. That was one of the best pieces of advice I was given when I was going through some rough times. Worrying about the future is not going to help you right now. Worry about that tough exam you need to study for, or what you’re going to do when you get home tonight. That’s all you can do, really. Focus your time and energy on what you could do right now and what you have control over.
Take a few deep breathes everyone, we got this.
Join HCI for Stress and Anxiety Student Support (SASS) meetings in the Wellness Center Training Room every Monday at 2 p.m.
By: Cara Kaplan