Being away from family and moving to a new place can be stressful for first-year students, but there are positive things to do to prevent stress before coming. Carl Dindo, a counselor at the University of Idaho Counseling and Testing Center said that self-care and time management are the main keys to prevent stress.
“First and foremost really is about time management to organizing,” Dindo said. “A lot of the freshmen coming in for the first time being on their own — there’s a lot of responsibility, there’s a lot of kind of adjustment in the sense of you have to be independent.”
Dindo said an example of managing behaviors would be getting organized by using a planner, talking with advisors, prioritizing works and settling down before school starts. From another stand point, he said, relaxation exercise is recommended when the feeling of stress appears. He said doing things that students find relaxing to them is important.
“The things we always talk about here in Counseling and Testing Center are deep breathing — or relaxation breathing and even things like mindfulness can come in handy,” Dindo said.
He said self-care is another portant element in stress management, which often comes from different dimensions in someone’s life — it’s more than just exercise and eating healthy.
“It’s essentially kind of finding ways to care for yourself in a lot of different dimensions,” Dindo said. “Specifically dimensions are physical self-care, psychological self-care, emotional self-care, spiritual self-care, relationship self-care and academic self-care.”
Dindo said first-year students should find a balance within all of these dimensions, not just one, then apply them in everyday life.
“It’s easy as you come in to college, and got really caught up in ‘I need to do really well, I need to make this relationship…I got to party, I got to enjoy college, all those good things,'” Dindo said. “So, those things are important, but also it’s really important to make time for the self-care.”
Dindo said that self-care should be intentional and purposeful, encouraging people to do them on purpose, not just once in a while.
UI sophomore Madi Bertagnole said to prevent stress she does fun things with friends like going swing dancing, playing in the snow during winter and watching movies.
“As for stress, when I’m studying for something really important, I try to break it down into manageable sections, and take breaks for comfort food and maybe an episode of a cartoon,” Bertagnole said.
“For larger projects, break it down into mini deadlines for yourself.”
UI sophomore Gaby Franco said getting involved in student organizations and intramural sports has helped adjusting into college life and preventing stress to occur.While Bertagnole studies Spanish, Franco studies accounting. Both said that being organized, having a to-do list or a planner, is helpful while students are on their first year of college.
“Another thing is working out when I feel too stressed,” Franco said. “Also finding a study place — a good place you can study at.”
The common problems Dindo noticed about first-year students are adjusting to college life, being away from parents for the first time and academic struggles. Red flags of stress and depression can be found differently from one person to another, but Dindo said commonly, students would feel overwhelmed, nor will they sleep and eat well.
“A lot of them are the basic self-care stuff,” he said. “You might notice that physically people notice their stress, people will start panicking in certain situations, they might start feeling muscle tension and physical symptoms.”
There are many resources on campus that students can utilize when the feeling of stress appears, such as Student Health Center, Counseling and Testing Center, Student Support Services and many others, Dindo said.
The Counseling and Testing Center is a free service for students and confidential.
Nurainy Darono can be reached at email@example.com