College Freshmen More Stressed Than Ever? Cry Me a River!

When you think college freshmen, you think weight gain (15 pounds, natch), new friends, learning experiences, and all-nighters. You don't often think about pressure and stress. Turns out, you should.

Why? Because it seems that those little 18-year-olds we all envy are actually even more stressed than we are. College freshmen are more stressed than ever, according to a New York Times survey. While I want to feel bad for them (I really do), I just don't.

Campus counselors say the survey corroborates what they see on campus, and that students are especially concerned about job prospects after they graduate. At the same time, freshmen rated their academic ability and drive higher than ever, indicating that some of the stress may come from pressure they’re putting on themselves. Says one campus director, “Students know their generation is likely to be less successful than their parents’, so they feel more pressure to succeed than in the past."


I get it. I remember those years well. I was also insanely stressed, thought my problems were WAY BIGGER than anyone else's, and was pretty sure the pressure would kill me. Now, 10 years later, I kind of want to smack myself.

Yes, there was a lot of stress. That first year, I was meeting all new people, learning a new way of studying, and generally feeling overwhelmed. But I was 18. I wasn't thinking about graduation or my future or anything other than the next big party or what guy I liked.

Yes, school was stressful, but I had no other concerns beyond doing well in school. Those were the days.

I know not every college freshman is like me. And I also know that it's smart to think about the future. But when you're 18, you should be enjoying being 18. It ends in the blink of an eye and, quite frankly, there isn't all that terribly much to be stressed about. So buck up, college freshmen. You may hate finals and be worried about getting a job in four years, but trust me, it only gets worse.

Right now, you probably have no kids, you likely have all meals cooked for you. Your bills are probably paid and, if you live in the dorm, you don't even really have to clean up after yourself. It's a good life. So stop stressing and enjoy it. The real stress is just around the corner.

Were you stressed in college?


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