Stress doesn’t have to break students

That special time of Fall Semester is fast approaching, and students are beginning to feel the burdens of their courses as the first test of academic mettle slowly materializes in the temporal plane: MIDTERMS. But for some students, particularly those further along on the path of education, a midterm is just as important as a final exam, which means they will feel all of the stress and anxiety that accompanies finals here at midterm time. But luckily for U students, there are ample opportunities here at the U to help cope with anxiety and get past these trying times.

Exercise is a wonderful way to help dissipate the enormous pressures academia can deposit on the backs of any scholar. There is a reason grade schools often required PE classes, and it isn’t to torment those less physically inclined. It is one of the best methods of helping us to cope with stress, as well as keeping the body healthy and fit. Many students choose to run as their means of physical activity, but there is a wide range of other physical activities available at the U, such as ESSF classes, which can be taken for credit or non-credit; the Field House, which provides free admission to U students; the bike lanes, which allow cyclists to share the road with traffic; and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail can also be easily accessed by the Utah Museum of Natural History at 301 Wakara Way.

The U also offers a wonderful counseling program to students looking for a little guidance on how to deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with the demands of student life. Counseling is not what many people imagine it to be — i.e. a long couch and a frowning Freudian psychologist charging the patient exorbitant amounts of money. On the contrary, it is a very inexpensive way to access a positive environment with a counselor who has been matched with the client and who will work quickly and effectively to find strategies the client can actively use in everyday life. The methods work, and they don’t even take that long, making this a great option for U students.

Finally, the U is home to many student clubs and groups that cover a variety of different interests and causes. The good environment offered by these organizations provides stressed students with a break from work and a great opportunity to make new friends and form networks. Having these friends who will listen can greatly ease the burdens of academia.

While these strategies may be effective for some, other students may not find any of this to be their cup of tea, and that is perfectly fine. Everyone is different and has their own way of coping with stress. Perhaps the simplest, if not the most important, thing to do during these times of heavy studying is to take breaks, get outside and forget the man-made cares of education and future-oriented career planning and simply be humans enjoying nature, if only for a few minutes a day. It helps more than you might think.

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