Any college student knows all about stress, and Hillsdale students are no exception. So how do people handle the stress that comes with piles of homework, essays, and extracurricular activities?
Julia Pletan, a junior and Head RA of Olds Residence, said she has healthy and unhealthy ways for dealing with stress.
“My default way of dealing with stress is to close myself off from everyone around me and to block them all out,” she said. “That’s my unhealthy mechanism.”
To Pletan, handling stress in a healthy way means taking a second to stop everything she’s doing and take a deep breath.
“Stop and breathe and find something to be thankful for. I thank God for something in my day. Actually finding someone to listen to my problems is really helpful. You have to stop and recognize ‘Hey, I’m stressed right now,’ and then you seek someone out to listen to that. And then, turn it into thankfulness for something good,” she said.
Sonya Wirkus, a sophomore and an RA in Mauck Residence, also stops what she’s doing and takes a break to handle stress.
“I deal with stress by setting everything aside, which is really hard to do. I like going for a run, because it really clears your mind and helps you focus on something different,” she said. “Sitting down and journaling, like writing down everything that you’re thinking, is really helpful too.”
Even when Wirkus has a pressing deadline, she said she still keeps up with running and journaling and manages her time and stress. “I don’t get to that place,” she said. “I get it done before.”
Gladys Oster, a sophomore and member of the Student Activities Board, said the only foolproof way she knows to cope with stress is to lean on God.
“I journal a lot to God, to find clarity. It’s very important to remember that not everything is GPA, and not everything is writing that essay or making sure that you’re at every social event. It’s realizing that you are enough and realizing that Jesus has enough for you,” she said.
Like Wirkus, Oster also said running is one of her favorite ways to calm down.
“Running has been a part of my life since I was younger. It gives me an opportunity to move my body in a productive way, and it really helps me sort through a lot of my problems and realize that some things aren’t as big of a deal as they seem,” she said.
Running seems to be an effective way to defuse stress. But what do you do when you’re stressed about running?
Adam Wier, a sophomore on the cross-country team, said that he often gets stressed before events, especially 10,000 meter races on hills.
“I usually just think about God, I think about my family, and I think about all the hard work I’ve done to get here,” he said. “I had to earn this, and that makes me really confident in myself and reminds me that I need to take advantage of my opportunity here.”
Whether they’re stressed about homework, a race, or planning Hillsdale’s next event, these students all seem to agree that the best way to get rid of stress is to clear your mind and remember what really matters.
Talking about your problems to others can be helpful too. According to Oster, conversations with upperclassmen have helped her think about stress in a different light.
“Sometimes, we think that we should be stressed, or we should always be doing something to be productive. But there’s a lot of good that can come from rest,” she said. “There’s a lot of grace and humility in realizing that we can’t do it all.”