How to cope with week one stress

Nick Botkin

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It’s week one. You’re inundated with syllabi and a thousand things to do. Turn in X assignment. Turn in Y assignment. The workload seems to rise like some monster, taunting you. You might feel like you want to throw in the towel. You might feel defeat. But maybe what you need is to simply take a step back. Release the energy. Recharge.

There’s no shortage of options, but here are a few ways to deal:


Complain to friends.

There is no better outlet than your best friend. Be assured that your friend has experienced similar struggles, if not worse. Compare notes. Exchange horror stories. That can be oddly comforting. If nothing else, you’ll know that you’re not going crazy trying to make sense of the first week, and it isn’t a government conspiracy to subvert your mind. Frustration is as normal as apple pie. Plus, said friends may have their own unique coping methods.

Write about it.

Yes, there is something meta about this advice. I’m writing to you about writing. But seriously, take out your frustrations on the page. Write out your hopes, goals and above all your fears and frustrations. This can be a roadmap for you. Writing this out can give you an idea of what you want to do and how you can make week two better. But, don’t use Times New Roman. It’ll remind you of the paper you have to start but are putting off.


There’s nothing like a good dose of exercise. A good walk will release you from the horrors of the library, or a classroom building that looks like a Soviet torture chamber. Take out that frustration on the soccer ball. Imagine the pesky goalposts as that first term paper or discussion forum question you have to answer.

Go to dollar beer night at Road 34.

This is not an endorsement of “Hangover” level drinking. I do not endorse the appearance of tigers in dorm rooms and lugging around babies named Carlos. But, if you’re 21 or above, dollar beers on Thursday can be a good release.

Listen to classical music.

Music is the ultimate reliever of stress. As an article in Stress Central explains, music has a unique link to our emotions. It absorbs attention and allows you to tap into the frustration, the anger or whatever you may be feeling. Classical music can be particularly calming. Listen to Debussy on a moonlit night. Classical music is also thought to be beneficial to the brain, so if you get an A on that first godawful English 101 paper, thank Tchaikovsky for the boost.


Watch your favorite movie.

Take an hour and a half, and watch your favorite movie. Imagine you are your favorite character if that helps. Envy their cool confidence, their ability to both charm like no one’s business and to make heads roll simultaneously. Check your worries at the door. Eventually you have to return to reality, and reality is not a place with neatly juxtaposed soundtracks. But, for an hour and a half, you get to enter that world, and we can all use a dose of imagination.

Collegian reporter Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri can be reached at or on Twitter @dudesosad.