Rachelle Manning is a junior at the Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in equestrian studies and minoring in graphic design. In addition to school work, she has also worked on multiple articles and short stories, as well as two full-length novels. She currently resides in Savannah, Georgia as she finishes her degree. For more examples of her work, visit www.rachellemanning.wordpress.com or email her at [email protected]
No matter what college you attend and no matter what your major is, you will experience stress at some point during your college career. You could lose a loved one, fail a test, lose your ID, or get into a fight with a friend. And sometimes, if you are really unlucky all of these things could happen in the same week, when you have slept exactly three hours of the past seventy-two, your Italian roommate is on Skype with her very Italian family in your tiny dorm room until three o’clock in the morning, and the dining hall food is making you sick. You will feel as though you are drowning under the weight of it all, that you aren’t going to make it, and wow is it really only your freshman year?
You will, without a shadow of a doubt, make it. You will survive the terrible things, you will eventually sleep (even if it is in a friend’s room), and you will move on to your sophomore year. Before you know it, you will be halfway through your junior year, with the world’s greatest group of friends, and have experienced things you never in a million years would have dreamed of doing before you went to school. You’ll realize that yes, while all of those things sucked, it made you appreciate the things you have now all the more.
But to make it, you first have to learn how to deal with those stressful situations. Because no matter how hard you try to avoid it, bad things happen.
Roommates are unfortunately a necessary evil of most colleges, especially the first two years. And even if you wind up with the coolest roommate ever, there will be times where you will wish you didn’t live with them. Sharing a small space with no way to truly be alone is enough to drive anyone crazy under normal circumstances, not adding in the pressures of grades, adulthood, and being away from home.
It is important to remember that you always have the option of moving out if a roommate situation just flat out isn’t working. Talking only goes so far. But do not stress yourself out over having to stay in a bad rooming situation.
But before you automatically move out, try mediation. While it’s not always the answer, most of the time it works. Talking both to your roommate and your residential assistant can often bring to light a lot of problems and solutions that will make your living situation easier. Residential assistants are fantastic to talk to about any problem, because they can often talk to your roommate about a sticky situation you wish to avoid or they can take care of bigger problems such as drugs and alcohol that you on your own could do nothing about.
Most mediators always say that communication is always the key in a successful living arrangement. And while that is true, talking doesn’t solve every problem, and sometimes, it will create more problems than solutions. So it is important that you find your own space, where you can get away from each other for a little while each day. It can be the library, your favorite restaurant or coffee shop, a bench on campus that has a pretty view…the possibilities are endless. But having a few moments to yourself outside of class and away from friends helps you gather your thoughts will let you take a step back and relax.
Taking a step back and relaxing also helps you with a lot of other problems, too. In most cases, things are not as bad as they seem when you’re stressed out. Being alone with your thoughts can often force you to realize that the fact you failed a test is not the end of the world; there will be other tests and assignments, extra credit exists, and chances are, you didn’t do as poorly as you think.
However, being alone can just as often cause more stress. So it is important that you have at least one good friend to remind you that you are in fact ridiculous, and that you are going to be okay. Those friends will often cause you wonder why you’re friends with them in the first place, because they will be unnecessarily blunt at times, and they will be the ones who stress you out the most when you inevitably wind up fighting. But for those days that you are curled up in a little ball hating everything and they can convince you that you’re going to not only make it, but do amazing things on top of that, they are worth it.
The most important thing to remember when you’re stressed is that you will make it. You have survived every single thing that has been thrown at you up until this point. You can and will survive college.