When we think of college life, we think of the greatest years of our lives. However, we tend to ignore that it is also the time of stressful experiences and a wide range of mental health challenges.

Given multiple sources of distress, some people will feel overwhelmed by all of them at some point.  When you mix academics, culture shock, homesickness, and social life, it all comes together to be too much for some students.

Here are the common causes of stress in college students:

Unhealthy Competition

We all love a healthy competition but what happens when we cross the line to unhealthy? When we obsess on getting a high GPA, this can cause additional stress. We all know student’s grades can impact their future. Failing grades only means rejection for opportunities, scholarships may be revoked, it may impact your class ranking, or even affect your graduate school acceptance. And yes, ultimately your job offers.

One overlooked impact facing students is choosing a major or career path early on their college life. Some students are fortunate enough to go to schools who give them time before declaring a major. Others want you to start taking pre-requisites in your first semester, which can be stressful.

Parental Expectation and Style

There are parents who pressure their children to opt for their own preferences without taking into consideration their kids interest and aptitude. The burden of living up to parent’s expectation can take a toll on the students stress. This gradually becomes mental stress for the student to cope with their parents demands and compete with other students. This leads to anxiety, depression and unfortunately, sometimes suicide. 


Ask any students who go to college; did they expect to feel homesick?  Do not be surprised, it is more common than you think. Even the hardened students feel some form of sadness as they separate from their old lives. But research shows, 1 out of 10 will find it hard to adapt. Fortunately, they can seek help from family, friends and guidance counselors.

Social Anxiety

College life can be intimidating and anxiety-provoking at times especially during the students’ first year. Although some are naturally outgoing, most have to work harder to make connections. You will see students who tend to isolate themselves for fear of being rejected.

For students who want to make the first connection, try changing your unrealistic expectation to a realistic one. Turn your negative thoughts to a positive one. Join activities and organizations.  Be aware of your body language.  Good eye contact and a smile can do wonders. Try using open ended questions such as why, how, what, and when to get a conversation started. These are some important steps in surviving college.

Financial Burden

Let’s face it, college isn’t exactly cheap. Year after year, it is getting more expensive whether you choose to attend a community college or a private one. If you add up the cost of tuition, books, room and board, it can be staggering. Unless you’ve received a full-ride scholarship, college can be a financial burden. It is not uncommon for students to take part time jobs to augment their college expenses. 

Clear the Hurdles

Do not fret as there are solutions to every hurdle. Be easy on yourself, with the right frame of mind and a positive outlook, which are very important things in surviving college, you will find that any of the stressors mentioned above can be conquered without a hitch. Do not take things on alone. You do have a support system from resident counselors, professors, academic advisors, family and friends ready to give you a hand. This will definitely ensure that your experience in college will be an unforgettable one.

Bio: Marquis is as free as the statue of liberty. She is now a part-time writer who loves to write an article based on surviving college and a professional blogger whose work revolves around blogging, managing websites, web content, social media.