Creating a private bubble

College is the place where everything seems to happen all the time. From sporting events to concerts to going to the bars with friends, college is definitely where you can find anything you want to do.

My parents always encouraged me to try new things and meet new people every chance I had. Even in my final year here at UW-Eau Claire, I’m still joining groups and staying involved in many social activities. However, while being outgoing and involved has many benefits, it takes away my individual personal time.

At the beginning of this semester I was balancing 17 credits of classes, Blugold Marching Band performances every weekend, The Spectator responsibilities and a job at Target.  Many days consisted of rushing from class to work to starting homework at midnight. After a couple of weeks, I realized it was just too much for me to handle.

When I decided to take a leave of absence from Target, some of the pressure on my shoulders was lifted. I got a lot more homework done along with being able to enjoy some space. As much as I can multi-task different things, there is a point where it just becomes impossible to do.

It’s important to find this point and find out how much stress you can handle. Some can balance full-time school, work and activities while others can only do one thing at a time.

Most college students today underestimate the amount of stress they place on themselves. With growing tuition debt, a very competitive job market and trying to succeed in classes, more and more students are under a lot of pressure these days. According to a 2012 study by the American College Counseling Association, 37.4 percent of college students seeking help have severe psychological problems. Depression and anxiety are the most recorded mental health problems.

While stress is unavoidable and appears on a daily basis, there are simple and easy steps students can take to reduce some of these problems. First, make a routine for yourself. If you do homework and go to bed at a specific time, keep it that way so you know where to fit in everything else. Time management is key in making sure stress gets lowered.

Second, be realistic and understand you can’t do everything. There are only a certain amount of hours in a day, so don’t think you can get everything done in just a couple of hours. Taking breaks between homework sessions can help give your mind a chance to rest and can be refreshing even if only for a couple of minutes.

Finally, cut back certain things if necessary.If you feel overwhelmed, cut back work hours or drop a class in order to make your schedule more manageable. It’s important to figure out what is the most important to you and what is not so you know what to cut back if the time comes to do it.

While making money sustains me as a college student, finishing up my classes and graduating on time is more important than keeping a college job. Therefore, it was pretty easy for me to figure out that my job had to go.

So take advantage of the opportunity for personal space. Appreciate the chance to be able to do the things you want to do.