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Taming the Stress Within You

By Katrina Koltz
On November 18, 2013

     With finals looming just around the corner, all graduate students can attest to the impending doom and gloom that has everyone's stress levels at max capacity. So in order to maintain our composure and resist the urge to curl into the fetal position, we must find some inner solitude or ways to tame our stress and anxiety. It is important to find ways to manage your stress because if left unchecked, excessive stress can negatively impact your health. Stress weakens the immune system, which does not allow you to fight off sickness or infection as easily. Some graduate student's college experience is a cycle of alcohol, sleep deprivation, and caffeine. Because these things individually weaken the immune system, their combination has an amplified effect on the body's inability to fight off things like the common cold. This response is counterproductive to healthy living and negatively impacts your health at critical moments when academic success is at stake.

     Procrastination is a major contributor to elevated stress, and time management is the best way to combat these factors. It is much easier to work on a large assignment a little bit at a time rather than scrambling at the last minute to cram or pull an all-nighter. Start working on assignments as soon as you find out about them. This will help you plan out your study schedule and prioritize those that are due first. The Writing Center and Academic Resource Center can help keep you on track with all of the upcoming projects, papers, and tests in your future. The Writing Center has expert staff to review and critique your papers either in person or via e-mail. Keep in mind that they do ask for 24 hours to make suggestions, so it is best to submit your work well in advance of the assignment deadline. The Academic Resource Center has individual and small group tutoring available in many courses. The library also has a variety of services available.  Need help with your research?  Each member of the library faculty has subject area specialties.  For more information, please visit  In addition, the library is available for printing and faxing. Be sure to utilize the free resources that GSU has to offer!

     Other things that can help relieve stress are linked to physical and emotional needs.  Adequate sleep, exercising, and eating right are all ways that you can help your body recover from the stressful situations you encounter each day. Whether you make time for yourself, spend a relaxing evening with family or friends, or attend a religious or spiritual event, social and spiritual support can provide significant stress relief.  Meditation and journaling are other commonly used techniques to reduce stress. Student Life has a Reflection and Restoration Room available on campus in A2150 that can be used for meditation, prayer, reflection, or even just a quick visit to de-stress.

     When you are truly bogged down and feeling completely overwhelmed, it may be time to try something new. Reach out to the Counseling Center in B1215 or Katherine Helm at They specialize in anxiety, depression, difficulties in relationships, and caregiver stress. Services are free for GSU students and may be just what you are looking for.

If there is a topic specific to graduate students that you would like to see featured, please e-mail the author, Katrina Koltz, at 

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