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10 Reasons Why College Makes You So Stressed

Getting into college is more or less the perfect dream for many high school students. But there’s one thing that seems to skip over our heads where college is concerned, and that is that it’s not a bed of roses. Even if you happened to get into your dream college, don’t be surprised to find out that college can be quite the pain just as it’s living the dream because it can be pretty stressful.

Here are 10 reasons why college makes you so stressed:

  1. College is competitive.
  2. Limited time to yourself.
  3. Reduced sleep time.
  4. Always have to be in class.
  5. Tougher courses.
  6. Many tests to study for.
  7. Difficult professors.
  8. Dealing with financial burden.
  9. Lots of multitasking.
  10. Social and emotional instability.

College is a lot more intense than we might have imagined. It’s like real life, which means you’re literally in your own hands and, simultaneously, student life, all in one place. Let’s take a deeper look into these reasons to get more insight into just how stressful college is for students.

Why college is so stressful.

1. College Is Competitive

Times are very different from when going to college wasn’t in the interest of many people. After a high school diploma, people went straight to work. 

However, the desire to go to college and get something much more than a high school degree has been rampant in recent times. While this is excellent news for the labor market, it has also led to increased competition where college is concerned.

Getting into the college of your choice is where the competition starts, and that point plays its part in stressing you out. However, it doesn’t stop there. Even if you happened to get into your dream college, don’t be surprised to find out that college is stressful.

With the growing numbers of people going to college, you need to set yourself apart, which means performing in a better capacity and pushing yourself to do more. Colleges also raise the bar to maintain specific standards in their institutions, making the competition even more intense. 

With other college students also trying to make their mark and do more in the same college, you’re under increased pressure to do more and become more. The increasing competition certainly plays a massive part in stressing out college students (source).

2. Limited Time to Yourself

For most high school students, what comes to mind where college is concerned is a life of freedom where you can do whatever you want whenever you want. The craving for independence, freedom, and college seems to be all that in one place. 

However, the truth is that you have a lot less time to yourself once you get into college. 

There’s very little time for yourself between projects, assignments, and tests. Especially if you prefer to be more than an average student when leaving college, this ambition would mean going the extra mile to be extraordinary in your course and field. 

On the bright side, you get to leave college as a star student if you play your time card well. 

On the downside, you have minimal time to spend on yourself, if you get any time at all. It becomes much more challenging for college students who run side jobs and businesses to manage their time with tight college schedules (source).

See How To Keep Up With College Assignments (Ultimate Guide)

3. Reduced Sleep Time

Most people who picked up the habit of early morning coffee picked it up while at college. 

With limited time to spend on yourself, one way or the other, the need to get things done begins to eat into your sleep time. The average human should have at least 7 hours of sleep, plus time for rest and recreation throughout the day.

However, with projects piling up, assignments due, and tests, it just seems like there’s so much to do yet so little time. In such cases, you begin to eat into your sleep time with late nights and early mornings. 

It gets to a point where pulling an all-nighter becomes the new normal. 

The continuous pressure, competition, and anxiety associated with college studies lead to excessive sleep deprivation. Between short or no sleep time, increasing caffeine intake, and working consecutively, stress is inevitable (source). 

Limited sleep leads to increased stress, anxiety, and ultimately, depression (source).

See Why Do College Students Sleep So Much? 6 Reasons

4. Always Have To Be in Class

College hosts many courses that you can’t pass unless you attend the class. While many people seem to find no issue with attending every class during their time in college, it’s not as easy as it looks. 

On the other hand, missing classes can affect your success in that particular course, which further defeats your entire purpose of college. There are specific college courses with very tight class schedules and compulsory attendance. 

Every once in a while, you might need to miss a class. 

Missing classes for some courses affect grades in a lot more ways than one. In this way, students in college have to attend most if not all of their classes consistently. 

Continuous full participation in all classes sooner or later can stress out college students the most, especially when such students have a couple of other things on the side that also require their attention at critical times. 

While this aspect is often overlooked, like with unhealthy eating habits, it does a lot more damage when it comes to stressing students out much more than it’s given credit for (source).

5. Tougher Courses

Academically speaking, college is more demanding than any other educational system you might have passed through. This also means, whatever stress comes from other institutions you have been at becomes a lot more intense when you get into college. 

You will be dealing with more advanced and complex courses, going deeper into the intricacies of subjects whose basics were only treated in high school. 

It also means that, in college, you’d need to give a lot more attention to your studies. 

It’s possible to still fail a course or subject even after taking it in college. This is because the courses are a lot tougher and more complex and require in-depth understanding to be successful at them. 

Attending classes isn’t the only guarantee of success, as many other factors come together to guarantee your success in college. Making moves to ensure that you’re on the green radar under these factors can stress a college student.

6. Many Tests To Study For

College is full of tests. At different times and different periods, your in-depth knowledge in a particular field is tested in the form of assignments, projects, and presentations. 

Most of the time, it comes in short assessment tests and examinations. 

Tests, for one, are more prevalent in your time as a college student. Periodic tests are usually set up as part of the calendar so you know when a test is coming up and prepare actively. However, certain teachers can spring up with impromptu tests that you didn’t see coming. 

The crazy thing about such tests is that it stresses you out before and after the test. 

Right before the test, you’re stressed with the whole preparation process, maybe even pulling an all-nighter and showing up sleep-deprived. You’re stressed out after the test, especially when you’re not confident of your answers, and poor performance can adversely affect your final grades.

Thanks to surprise tests, college students have to be consistently prepared, which means regular studying and preparation, just in case anything springs up at any point in time (source).

7. Difficult Professors

Just like with high school, where we all had our favorite teachers and the ones we didn’t like much, it’s also the same in college. However, the professor of the course or subject can give you a hard time and stress you out for one reason or another. 

While the educational system is consistently targeted at the best interest of the students, we one way or another find orthodox teachers in charge of specific courses and subjects. Learning is best done in a relaxed and stress-free environment. 

However, some professors end up stressing students a lot more than is necessary. 

Difficult teachers with problematic behaviors are primarily responsible for college students’ stress. Proper teaching focuses more on the progression of students in that particular subject or course rather than their resilience when given a hard time by teachers.

See Why Do Some Professors Grade So Hard?

8. Dealing With Financial Burden

College tuition can be costly, and daily upkeep, buying books, and getting a room can make it even more expensive. This financial burden is why many people don’t want to go to college. 

Some students are on full scholarships, which makes it easier, but they still have to worry about paying other bills. Taking a student loan also is one thing that some other students consider, but the thought of how to pay it back is even more overwhelming. 

This is why many college students take up side jobs to sustain themselves through school, which takes a toll on them. Most of them barely have time to rest, socialize and involve themselves in other fun and relaxing activities (source).

9. Lots of Multitasking

You might think that college is where you can live your best life just like it’s in the real world, especially since it’s a cross between the real world and student life. However, this is more or less a mirage. 

If you have that in mind, you’re far from just how much stress college has to offer. 

Even as a student who has nothing else on the side, you still have to juggle tons of things simultaneously. Assignments, projects, tests, club, and association duties can eat into your schedule, and then you have to multitask to get time for all of those things. 

Since you’ll be studying different subjects with their respective educational demands, it’s safe to assume that you’ll be doing a lot of multitasking just among your courses alone. Juggling too many things and trying to find enough time for each one is a sure way to get stressed out. 

People take out this time in college to discover themselves and their paths. A lot of things will require your attention at this period. 

From working side jobs and building businesses to maintaining solid relationships and connections, you’ll need to juggle a whole lot more than just your studies. In between the juggle comes a load of stress for the college student.

A successful time in college all comes down to how each of these factors plays out and affects a college student. While most people get the hang of it, some don’t, and it harms their time in college. The perfect learning experience is one done under favorable conditions.

10. Social and Emotional Instability

College is a social environment where you come in contact with different people from different spheres of life. The social aspect of college is endearing but can also threaten your overall success at college. 

College students tend to get overwhelmed with the social part of college. 

Not everyone has the seamless ability to balance every area of their life. The social and emotional aspects affect college students the most. At college, you’re building lasting connections and more intentional relationships. 

When something goes wrong, it can affect your state of wellbeing, which will, in turn, become a strain on your college life. 

Social and emotional instability can significantly affect a college student, yet one of the most overlooked causes of stress in students within the college environment. With these factors in view and insight into how they can stress out a college student, you can better prepare yourself for a less stressful college year (source).

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