Being a young adult in today’s world has its advantages, but its disadvantages also cannot be overlooked, as this is a time when major life decisions and changes are made. These decisions and changes come with great difficulties, so as a young adult, I find myself constantly having to deal with a lot of stress. Stress is defined as “a response elicited when a situation overwhelms a person’s perceived ability to meet the demands of a situation” (Feist & Rosenberg, 2009, pg. 457). Currently, there are a few factors that are causing my high levels of stress. The main stressor is being a college student. It is not easy to have to balance multiple courses with different subjects and different requirements, such as readings, written assignments, and exams, while also dealing with strict deadlines. I also plan to apply for graduate school after I receive my bachelor’s degree later in the year. I am making every effort to ensure that I do well in each of my courses, and that I am making adequate progress towards the completion of my degree. I have put myself under a lot of pressure due to my expectations. While some people might say that having expectations can foster an environment of growth, I sometimes find them to be a burden because I end up feeling guilty when I fail to meet them. I am also currently dealing with financial stress. It is not so much about the cost of tuition, but having to manage the costs of living while attending college, such as paying rent, groceries, household bills, healthcare, and leisure activities.
To manage the costs of living while going to college, I have had to keep a part-time job, so I can support myself financially. It is also sometimes difficult to find balance between my academic and financial obligations, since they both require my maximum focus. However, the consequences associated with working while attending college are certainly better than the stress that is involved in not having enough money for everyday costs. Having to manage both work and school provides me with very little free time, so I sometimes miss out on social events with friends and family. I am aware that taking time away from my academics could potentially affect my grades, so there are moments when I struggle with finding a balance that satisfies both my relationships and education. For example, I have older parents and this gives me constant anxiety that my time with them is more limited. I want to be able to spend as much time with them as possible, and dealing with this pressure to be present with them is very real. There is also the pressure to show them the future, which is even more pressing for me. My parents’ age affects the way I live my life every day. While this may be a stressor for me, I do not take the time I have with them for granted.
Assessment of My Stress Level
Considering how many stresses I currently have, the results I received from the stress quizzes I took did not come as a surprise. On Mind Tool’s “Stressful Life Events Scale”, I scored a 244, which translated to having a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future. This test result concerned me because as we learned in this course, stress can evoke many negative emotions, which activate the sympathetic nervous system, and “sustained sympathetic activation in conditions of stress weaken the body’s defenses and increase the likelihood of illness” (Feist & Rosenberg, 2009, pg. 474). These illnesses include elevated blood pressure, depression, anxiety, heart problems, and more. I am already currently experiencing some of these symptoms, so I think it would be best for me to develop positive coping skills as soon as possible to manage the stresses in my life. On the “Resilience to Stress” quiz, I scored “fairly high” on all the following traits: adaptability, self-control, self-sufficiency, optimism, and persistence, which translated to being mostly resilient to stress. For the most part, I agree that I have resilient tendencies, but like any other human, there are also times I am not able to recover quickly. During times of high stress, I mostly choose to accept the situations I find myself in, as I realize that I have no control over them, and then I figure out how to maneuver around the new circumstances. I am also surrounded by my family and friends, who provide me with great emotional support. This kind of support provides me with a better sense of confidence in my own abilities, and it allows me to have more of an optimistic approach in life.
Lastly, through the “Type A Personality Quiz”, I found that I have many Type A personality traits. The results suggested that I need to eliminate some of the stress in my life by challenging my thinking and reactions to stress. Before taking this test, I never knew that I fell into the Type A category. I can certainly see why I fit into this category and why having many Type A personality traits can be problematic. Throughout the day, I always find myself in a constant hurry, while living by deadlines and to-do lists. At the same time, I am very independent and sometimes have difficulty asking others for help, so I end up doing everything by myself. After completing tasks, I find it difficult to stop and relax, so I repeat the process—starting with a new to-do list, while constantly feeling the pressure of time. I can certainly understand how living this kind of life can take a toll on my lifestyle and health.