University Researchers Study Stress Levels Of College Freshmen Students


Entering college as a freshman student can be stressful for most students. It isn't a lot like high school anymore, because aside from having to adapt to a new school and new environment, there is an increased academic expectations. This is why in order for them to make it through the first year, self-compassion must be practiced, according to a study.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that students who reported higher levels of self-compassion were more optimistic, alive and energetic during their first year in college, according to Science Daily.

Katie Gunnell, the study's lead author and a junior research scientist at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, said that students who are transitioning from high school to college may be experiencing psychological stress. Aside from the transition period, a 2015 survey found that first year college students spend less time socializing which also contribute to their emotional angst, according to FIU News.

But Gunnell said that these stress factors can be mitigated through self-compassion as it improves the psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, which in turn, enriches well-being. Self-compassion can be exercised in order to prevent feelings of self-judgment or feelings of inadequacy. It focuses on being more kind to one's self and that means not being overly critical; recognizing that failure is universal and practicing mindfulness which means being present in the moment.

Peter Crocker, co-author and UBC kinesiology professor said that their research shows how the first year in university can really be stressful, especially for students who were used to getting high grades in high school. College can be more challenging, which is why self-compassion is said to be the most effective strategy in order to easily cope with college issues.

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