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College and Stress

The good, the bad, and tips for keeping it in check

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 20 million students currently attend U.S. colleges and universities. Like their parents before them, many will look back at college as the best time of their lives. Others however, may not recall their time so fondly. For too many students, college today can be an endless cycle of worry and stress—stress that unaddressed, can become debilitating.

Eighty percent of U.S. college students reported feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities, according to a recent study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And while each student experiences college in his or her own way, there are a number of common factors that can contribute to high levels of stress. For most, this is the first time away from home, and saying goodbye to the security of family and friends can be unsettling. Developing new friendships and learning to live with strangers is often a huge adjustment, and maintaining or ending long-distance personal relationships—particularly as young adults—can be trying. Add to that costly education expenses, a burdensome academic workload, and changes to patterns in sleeping, eating and drinking, and it’s easy to see how students can become overwhelmed with stress.

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