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Political Activism for College Students

Despite making up more than half of the population, young adults (ages 18-30) often find themselves marginalized from mainstream politics and decision making. 

When given an opportunity to organize, voice our opinions and play a meaningful role in political decision making, young adults consistently demonstrate our willingness and ability to foster positive, lasting change. We also become more likely to demand and defend democracy, and gain a greater sense of belonging.

College campuses provide a multitude of opportunities for young adults to interact with diverse populations, exchange ideas, join organizations, and develop skills to think critically about the world we live in.

No matter your political viewpoint or worldview, it’s important to exercise your civic rights and stand for the messages you believe are worth it. Here are the 5 best tips for getting involved in politics as a college student: 

  1. Educate Yourself

Before you get into politics, you should know what you’re talking about and be able to hold an intelligent and thoughtful conversation about the issues. 

Read your local newspaper. Then read your state newspapers. Then read national publications: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and more. Whatever you can get access to, read it; with so many magazines and papers being published online now, accessibility has never been easier.

Start by picking a few topics that you care about or find interesting. They can be broad topics like foreign policy or immigration or more narrow topics like art education in public schools. One nice thing about democracy is that you choose what’s important to you. 

The next step is to learn about the structure of government. Which parts of the government are responsible for making and executing the decisions you care about?

It’s important to know who your local legislators and politicians are. First, find your House Representative, and enter your address to find a full list of your elected officials

Once you know who your elected officials are, talk to them! Tell them what’s on your mind: what concerns you, what you expect of them, what makes you proud to live in your state. Their job is to listen to you, so reach out frequently and respectfully to voice your opinions.

Here are some general guidelines on how to contact your elected officials

Once you start gathering information, share that knowledge! Have discussions with your friends and family. Engage in respectful debate when appropriate. Spread the word.

  1. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! 

Voting is the most fundamental form of civic engagement in a democracy. This is the easiest and most effective way for anybody to make a difference. 

First, and most importantly: check your voter registration status in your state. If you aren’t already registered, make sure you REGISTER TO VOTE!

Registering to vote is a relatively simple process, and can be done in a few different ways. In general, registrants will need to fill out a form and provide some type of approved ID, like a driver’s license. A social security card or number may also be required.

  • In person: Especially during election season, students will find plenty of opportunities to register to vote in person. Often, canvassers walk around campus with registration forms and can help you fill them out. Otherwise, you can register to vote at your state or local election office, the DMV, armed services recruitment centers or public assistance offices.
  • Online: Online registration is available in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Vote.gov can help you determine if online registration is available in your state and, if so, direct you to the right form.
  • By mail: Students can pick up a registration form in person or download one from your state’s voting website, fill it out and mail it in with any other necessary documents.

When registering to vote, you can select a political party affiliation. While you may choose not to affiliate with any of the major political parties, it may prevent you from being able to participate in caucuses and primary elections. Closed primaries are generally reserved for members of the Democratic and Republican parties to determine the candidate that will represent each group in the main election.

If you’re not sure whether to consider yourself a Democrat or Republican, that’s okay! The Pew Research Center offers a Political Party Quiz to help determine where you stand on important issues. 

The next step is to learn your state’s voting laws. College students living outside of their home state may register to vote in either the state of their school or in their official state of residence. 

If you choose to register in your state of residence, you must register to vote in that state and request an absentee ballot for your state to be sent to your University postal address.

The Fair Elections Center offers an annually updated guide to each state’s voting laws. A quick Google search should turn up the website for your state’s secretary of state, who often serves as the chief election official. These websites include information on election dates, absentee voting and other issues. 

Another great resource for educating yourself on the voting process is Rock the Vote, which is geared toward helping young people vote and provides all the information needed to vote in each state. 

If you want to vote on Election Day, come up with a plan to make sure you’re going to the right polling place, and going when it’s open. This might mean going early in the morning, between classes, or at the end of the day. Even better, share your plan to others, in person or on social media, to help you stay accountable.

Take it one step further by hosting a voter registration on campus to inspire your peers. Here is a comprehensive guide to hosting your very own Voter Registration event

  1. Join a Student Organization

Discovering an organization in which to align your political ideals is a great way to start getting involved quickly. They already have an established power structure, goals, a way to execute their plans and a pool of resources that an individual may not possess on their own. 

There are generally political organizations on campus that cover the entire political spectrum, from liberal to conservative and everything in between. Most schools will have a registry, as well as a description of the group, posted online for other students to get involved. Keeping your eye out for groups that host tabling events, post flyers and are active on campus is the best way to find one without actively looking. Below are two organizations that are available to college students: 

College Republican National Committee

Find a College Republican Chapter in your state. 

Young Democrats of America

Learn more about this youth-led political organization

  1. Participate in or Organize Political Rallies

Don’t be afraid to advocate for a political issue that’s important to you. As a college student, you may be unsure about your political affiliation, but likely, you feel strongly about a variety of topics. Join a rally or march to add your voice to the choir. Or, if you want to be an organizer, hold your own awareness-raising event. 

Once you determine a pressing issue, learn all you can about it. Look for other students or community members that feel the same way. Work together to plan an event that will spread the word about your issue. Chanting, sign-holding and marching at an event might feel uncomfortable, but they’re powerful ways to get attention for your cause. If you have something bigger in mind, contact state or national groups that might be willing to help you out.

However, before you start protesting – learn the basics and take note of any important details. The American Civil Liberties Union’s guide to protesting rights will let you look up your state’s permit requirements and other prerequisites.

  1. Volunteer on a Political Campaign

Every political campaign – whether it be for your local school board, a state legislature, or Congress – needs hard workers, people serving as the boots on the ground.

Volunteering on a campaign can mean making phone calls (known as phone banking), sending text messages, or canvassing door-to-door to advocate for a political candidate. Every election cycle, campaigns rely on “on the ground” volunteers to spread grassroots enthusiasm about their candidate and their cause.

In the United States, the most popular form of volunteering tends to be for presidential campaigns, but the presidency is hardly the only office in American politics. First-time volunteers might find their time is more effectively spent advocating for local representatives, whose policies more directly affect their day-to-day lives.

In conclusion, the best place to start getting politically active is within your own mind, forming opinions and values based upon your experience and the shared truth of others. 

5 First Steps to Political Involvement in College 

  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Vote!
  3. Join a Student Organization
  4. Participate in or Organize Political Rallies
  5. Volunteer on a Political Campaign

No matter what your motivation is to get active, it’s important that you do. Without exercising your right to assemble and petition the government, nothing will ever change. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum or whom you vote for, what matters is not being a passive citizen, but rather an active one that strives for better.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Be sure to connect with us, @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-participate-in-government
  2. https://advocatesforyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Youth-Activist-Toolkit.pdf 
  3. https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/student-activism-on-campus/
  4. https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/promoting-student-political-engagement-and-awareness-university
  5. https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/student-voting-guide/#test2

When Should I Buy My College Textbooks?

This is a question that is often asked by first-time college students. Being a new college student can be overwhelming and intimidating. On top of adjusting to a new environment and navigating campus is the task of buying textbooks. For most incoming freshmen, this is a completely new experience. One of the biggest stressors when it comes to buying textbooks for the first time is not knowing the right time to purchase. Many students are left wondering, “When is the best time to buy textbooks?”

When to Order Textbooks

There is no exact “right” time to buy college textbooks, which can make the process a little more confusing for first-time buyers. When starting the process of buying college textbooks, a good rule of thumb is to wait until all syllabi are received with all required course materials listed. 

Do You Have to Buy Textbooks Before Class Starts?

Unless you are required to complete an assignment or reading prior to the beginning of a course, it doesn’t hurt to wait until the first day of class to purchase textbooks. On the first day of class,  most instructors will confirm which materials are provided and if there are any additional items that are needed that might have been left off of the syllabus. Sometimes professors will provide digital copies of required readings that are listed in the syllabus so that students do not have to purchase the whole book.

If you’re still asking yourself the question “What books do I need for college?” after reading the syllabus and attending the first day of class, reach out to your instructor(s) and they will confirm what is needed for their course. It never hurts to double check with your instructor so you can be sure you are getting everything that is required for success in the course.

In addition to buying textbooks outright, college students also have the ability to rent most textbooks at a cheaper price; however, this concept can be a little bit confusing for someone who has never rented a textbook before.

How Does Renting Textbooks Work?

Renting textbooks is actually pretty similar to renting a DVD or sports equipment. Once you’re done with it or your rental period is over you simply return it to the seller. An important thing to remember when it comes to renting textbooks is that most sellers will expect that the book is returned to them in a timely manner and in fairly good condition.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent Textbooks?

It’s no secret that most college students will do whatever they can to save money. For some, renting textbooks is a great way to save some money on what can be a pretty costly expense. According to Robert Farrington, the founder of The College Investor, “Renting textbooks is such a great deal because you can typically save 70% to 90% compared to buying the book new, and 50% or more compared to buying the book used.” 

The College Board estimates that the average college student will spend $1,200 (at least) on textbooks per year. Renting textbooks whenever it is convenient for you will help you save some of that money in the long run. Aside from your college bookstore, there are several sites online that make it easy for you to rent textbooks at reduced prices.

Is Renting Textbooks a Good Idea?

Renting textbooks is a great option that will help you save some money; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for everyone. Before diving head first into renting all your textbooks, it’s important to think about your individual learning style and if it’s compatible with renting textbooks.

Here are a few things to consider before renting your textbooks:

1. Your Learning Style

Everyone has their own study habits that fit their style of learning. While some students can read material and remember concepts with minimal note taking, others prefer to take notes and highlight important details. The disadvantage of renting a textbook is that some rental services limit how much can be written, marked, or highlighted in the book. It is also a possibility that some services will expect the book to be returned with no markings and in pretty good condition. 

If you are someone who likes to mark up a book or is hard on your textbooks, renting might not be the best option in the long run.

2. Long Term Use

While not every textbook you will use during college will be useful at a later date, it is a possibility that as you progress through your major course work you might need a book again. If you have a feeling that a certain book might be useful to you at a later date, it might be better to buy the book just in case.

3. Terms & Conditions of Rental Agreement

Before deciding to purchase your rentals, make sure to read all of the fine print and the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. In some cases, companies will charge late fees for rentals that are not returned on time. If you are not sure you will be able to return the book by the specified date, you should consider buying the book so you don’t have to worry about the extra late fees that can add up. Some companies might also charge for damages to the book, so if you are someone who tends to put a lot of wear and tear on a textbook it is worth it to consider buying the book. Most books you purchase can be sold back at the end of the semester.

Are Buying Books Worth It?

The price of textbooks is enough to make any college student wonder if it’s something they’ll actually need. Even if you don’t end up using your books a ton throughout the semester, it’s still worth it to have them handy just in case. Textbooks are an essential resource for many students and some assignments can’t be completed without them.

For more information on buying textbooks, check out our previous blog post about the Best Sites to Buy College Textbooks.

When it’s time to buy (or rent) your textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered. With 4.0 stars on Trustpilot, eCampus.com is the most trusted bookseller among the student community. You can save up to 90% on Textbook Rentals, Used & New Textbooks, and eTextbooks. eCampus.com also offers a great rewards program (eWards) that is designed to make it easier for students to save money by earning rewards and exclusive deals.

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References

  1. https://www.cappex.com/articles/college-life/textbooks-rent-or-buy
  2. https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/save-on-college-textbooks#:~:text=%E2%80%9CRenting%20textbooks%20is%20such%20a,founder%20of%20The%20College%20Investor.
  3. https://money.com/college-textbooks-how-to-save-rent-lowest-prices/#:~:text=Rent%20Textbooks%20Instead%20of%20Buying%20Them&text=Renting%20can%20go%20a%20long,book%20costs%20%2437.49%20to%20rent.
  4. https://www.textbooksolutions.com/how-textbook-rentals-work.aspx#:~:text=When%20you%20rent%20a%20textbook,using%20a%20free%20shipping%20label!

Social Distancing on Campus

In the early months of this year, the world came to a grinding halt. In the wake of a global pandemic, schools and colleges had to decide how to proceed quickly. Campuses closed their doors, classes made the switch to online to finish out the semester, and students were left in limbo. Some businesses closed their doors, and others shifted into high gear to provide essential goods and services to the public. In the few months of quarantine, we’ve seen significant changes. Now, as we are experiencing a re-opening, we must find a balance between our old way of life and our lessons from quarantine.

No one is quite sure what the next few months will bring. We’d all like to go back to our old lives, but we’ll face certain limitations in the future. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve become familiar with safety procedures that we’ll soon have to apply on a mass scale. You’ll want to know how to mix the crucial parts of social distancing with the return to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

So, how can you navigate life in this post-quarantine world, while preserving the health and safety of yourself and others? Here is some info and a few tips and tricks that will allow you to get back to normal–Or more accurately, adjust to a new normal.

Social Distancing on Campus

What is social distancing?

Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is the practice of stopping or slowing the spread of a virus or other illness by maintaining a distance between yourself and another person to avoid becoming infected or infecting someone else.

What is the distance required for proper social distancing? 

For coronavirus, the proper range for social distancing is six feet, or about two arms’ lengths.

Life with Social Distancing on Campus

Universities are working with these new regulations and guidelines in different ways to ensure the safety of students and staff while still preserving traditional educational structures. How exactly will they be doing this?

Making Some Changes

Many colleges that have decided students will return to campus for the fall semester have chosen to start classes earlier than usual and end them earlier as well. The term will end before Thanksgiving break and students will not return to campus after the holiday. This new end of term date is meant to eliminate travel back and forth to campus surrounding Thanksgiving.

Here’s how one of our eCampus.com partner schools, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is handling their on-campus classes:

  • Early start and end of the semester
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day
  • The college is working to make face coverings available to faculty and staff
  • Each on-site employee can receive two washable coverings to use while on campus

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is also working with their online bookstore management team, Books by eCampus, to ensure students are prepared with the course materials they need by supporting online ordering with ship-to-home and ship-to-campus options.

Some colleges plan to integrate online courses due to social distancing and space limitations. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio intends to make selective accommodations for students with serious health concerns and those who need to self-isolate. Miami is working with its local hospital to develop a system for testing and isolating residential students who may be exposed to the virus in a way to ensure these students can continue their studies in place while protecting other students, faculty, and staff. Books by eCampus has partnered with Miami University since 2017 and will continue to provide flexible textbook ordering and shipping options for students regardless of where they will reside for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Campuses are doing their part to create a hygienic environment for learning. Clark State University will be enforcing physical distancing protocols and procedures for campus locations such as classrooms and libraries, and at outdoor events. The school will also be providing student health services and support, practicing “frequent and aggressive cleaning of facilities and surfaces,” making hand sanitizer available, and placing distancing stickers and health and hygiene messaging around their campus. Students will be asked to follow the Return to Campus Daily Checklist and make the decisions they believe are in the best interest of their fellow students. Having course materials available through their Books by eCampus online bookstore has proven invaluable, allowing students to purchase their professor-selected course materials from the comfort of their homes. 

On-Campus Housing

In the spring, almost all colleges and universities closed their campuses and dorms and made the switch to online learning. Residential students were displaced. Some returned home to their families; others were displaced and left looking for somewhere to stay. But soon, in the fall semester, many colleges and universities plan to reopen their campuses, and with them, the dorms and residence halls. But how will they go about this without repeating the past? What can they do to house their students with minimal risk of an outbreak?

Some campuses plan to subject students to “COVID-19 Screening activities” in order to determine their eligibility for on-campus housing. Some universities will require face coverings in the halls and communal areas of the residence halls (but not in-room or with a roommate, as the room is considered a private or family residence).

Campuses closing on the new end date of the semester will be making accommodations for residential students who cannot depart.

Everyday Personal Health and Safety

In the last few months of quarantine, you’ve probably picked up a thing or two. We all know basic social distancing guidelines, but as we reenter society and trek the uncharted territory of COVID-19-aware college campuses, it’s good to have a reminder. The CDC names six essential steps on “How to Protect Yourself and Others.”

Personal Hygiene

1.) Wash your hands often!

Frequent hand washing is an essential part of staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If you find you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

For the general public, the CDC recommends wearing gloves when cleaning and disinfecting your home or caring for someone who is sick. Gloves are not required for most other tasks, and guidelines for healthcare and work settings differ.

TIP: Many people find it helpful to sing 20-second songs or song fragments while washing their hands. Check out “Being smarter in 2020: Songs to sing while washing your hands,” on Tuscan.com for hand-washing tunes!

2.) Cover coughs and sneezes

Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not available to you, use the inside of your elbow. Do not spit. 

Do not cough or sneeze into your hand, openly, or on others. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after sneezing or coughing.

3.) Clean and disinfect

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Social Distancing and Virus Protection

4.) Wear a mask!

Wearing a mask is vital to preserving public health. Some cases are asymptomatic, meaning the infected person does not show symptoms or “become” sick. This means anyone could have the virus and be completely unaware, and could unwittingly spread COVID-19 to others. This is why everyone who can wear a face mask should.

Officials recommend wearing a cloth mask (or mask-like covering) when coming within 6-feet of another person, in crowded settings, or generally when leaving your home. For these reasons, it’s safe to assume you should wear masks on campus.

When wearing a mask:

  • Do: Make sure you can breathe through it.
  • Do: Make sure it covers your nose and mouth.
  • Do: Wear it whenever going out in public.
  • Do: Wash your mask after use (if reusable).
  • Do: Continue to wash your hands often.
  • Don’t: Put masks on children under 2 years of age.
  • Don’t: Put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing.
  • Don’t: Put masks on anyone unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
  • Don’t: Use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.
  • Don’t: Reuse disposable masks and respirators.

The CDC strongly advises against using a facemask “meant for a healthcare worker.” This would include N-95 respirators and other surgical masks used by healthcare workers in direct contact with patients. This is likely because of the global mask shortage, which has hit the medical community hard. Healthcare workers need these masks to preserve the health and safety of their patients, as well as themselves, from COVID-19 and other viruses and infectious diseases they may come into contact with in their line of work. The CDC recommends that “Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example, to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.”

TIP: Make sure you’ve got it right! Check out The San Francisco Department of Public Health ‘s article, “How to Put on and Remove a Face Mask,” for more on how to safely wear a mask or face covering.

5.) Avoid close contact (Practice Social Distancing)

Avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick. It is difficult to know if someone else has contracted the virus, as some people with the virus are asymptomatic (do not show symptoms or “become” sick). Because of this, it is important to try to put distance between yourself and all other people outside of your home. Maintain six feet of space between yourself and others, if possible. Do the same with others in your home if they become sick.

Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Vulnerable people, such as the elderly and people who are immunocompromised, face serious complications with the virus. To protect them and yourself, don’t get too close to others.

6.) Monitor Your Health

Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be challenging to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.

What happens next is a big unknown. It is only when everyone does their part that we can feel secure in our efforts. Practice social distancing and follow your school’s rules and guidelines this fall. We’re all in this together. 

Be sure to connect with us, @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Works Cited

  1. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.” World Health Organization. WHO, 2020. Web. 29 Apr. 2020.
  2. Cherney, Kristeen. “Does Wearing a Mask Protect You from the Flu and Other Viruses?Healthline. Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company, 2005-2020. Web. 18 Mar. 2020.
  3. Crawford, Gregory P. “Miami announces plans for fall 2020 return.” Miami University. Miami University, 2020. Web. 5 June. 2020.
  4. Mitchell, Madeline. “Miami University will return to campus for fall, plans to finish classes by Thanksgiving.” Cincinnati.com, The Enquirer. www.cincinnati.com, 2020. Web. 5 June, 2020.
  5. Fall 2020 Semester Information.” University of Massachusetts Amherst. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020. Web.
  6. Cloth Face Coverings Available for UMass Employees.” University of Massachusetts Amherst. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020. Web.
  7. Godoy, Maria. “Yes, Wearing Masks Helps. Here’s Why.” Shots Health News from NPR. NPR, 2020. Web. 21 June. 2020.
  8. Face Coverings Do’s and Don’ts.” Dallas College. Dallas College, 2020.
  9. Not All Face Masks are Created Equal: Know Which Type of Face Mask You Need and When.” Atrium Health. Atrium Health, 2020. Web. 22 April. 2020. 
  10. Chotiner, Isaac. “How to Maintain Social Distance as the U.S. Reopens.” The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 2020. Web. 25 May. 2020.
  11. Preventing the spread of the coronavirus.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard University, 2020. Web. March. 2020.

Winner, Winner…Pizza Dinner(s)

What college student wouldn’t want to win free pizza and textbooks for a year?! Ummm…can you say no one? That must be why the first-ever Books by eCampus textbook buyback giveaway was a hit among college students across the U.S. To enter the giveaway, students at any current Books by eCampus partner institution had to sell at least one textbook back through their school-specific online bookstore April 15, 2020 – June 1, 2020. Easy peasy! 

With all the craziness surrounding the spring 2020 semester related to the Covid-19 pandemic and online learning, eCampus.com was inspired to offer this first-time giveaway to help students take advantage of the online textbook buyback process. To thank students for taking time to sell online, Books by eCampus added some fun to the process with their giveaway aimed at lessening the blow of an unpredictable college semester. 

The giveaway was open to any student currently enrolled at a Books by eCampus partner institution, resulting in thousands of entries from eCampus.com’s 250 partner schools. By selling at least one textbook online, students were automatically entered to win a $500 textbook scholarship and free pizza for a year. 

So, who was the lucky winner? Drumroll, please…Emily Sauer of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Luck was on her side as she was randomly selected from thousands of participants. 

“The Books by eCampus Online Bookstore has helped me a lot because it makes getting my textbooks easy,” said Emily Sauer, who attends Miami University’s Hamilton, Ohio campus. “When I am done with my textbooks I know I can always sell them back and then get my next set.” Miami University has been a valued Books by eCampus partner since 2017, where students are able to take advantage of a 24/7 online bookstore offering free next-day shipping to campus of their professor-selected course materials.  

Congrats, Emily! 

The full press release can be found here.
Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! Are you a Books by eCampus student? Order today from your online bookstore! Not a Books by eCampus student? That’s ok, too! eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

7 Tips for Conquering College Stress

College is an exciting time, full of new challenges that drive you to expand your horizons. While some of these experiences can be thrilling, others may leave you feeling stressed.

Just as everyone experiences stress in their own way, we all have our preferred methods of coping with it. However, not all stress management strategies are healthy, and some may leave you feeling even worse than you did before.

Being able to manage stress is crucial for your academic success and personal well-being in college. After all, you can’t control the stressors in your life, but you can choose how to respond to them.

What Is Stress?

Stress is a normal and necessary part of life. It is your fight-or-flight response to challenges you see in the world. This natural reaction has certain physical effects on the body to allow you to better handle these challenges, such as increased heart rate and blood circulation. 

According to the American Psychological Association, there are three types of stress: acute, episodic acute, and chronic.

Effects of Stress on College Students

Stress affects your entire body, mentally as well as physically. There are four primary types of symptoms of stress: physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. 

Some common signs of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea 
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating

Managing Stress in College

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief. What works for one person might not work for another – so it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. 

How to Stop Stressing Out: Seven Tips for Conquering Stress in College

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Many college students find it difficult to get enough sleep because of busy schedules, late-night excitement, or stress. However, time and time again research supports the importance of sleep – for memory consolidation and recall, increasing learning abilities, energy conservation, muscle growth, and tissue repair, just to name a few.

Plus, insufficient sleep can put you at risk for serious illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and depression. Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep a night for best health.

  1. Eat Well

While fast food and junk food are cheap and convenient, they don’t set you up to do your best. How does eating healthy reduce stress?  When you eat healthy, you supply your body with the nutrition it needs to fight stress. Try to avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods, and limit (or eliminate) the use of stimulants like caffeine, which can elevate the stress response in your body.

Be sure to keep your dorm room or apartment stocked with a few fresh fruits and veggies, and high-protein snacks, and be sure that your main meals are healthy and balanced.

  1. Exercise

One of the best coping skills for college students, which can also combat weight gain and frustration, is to get regular exercise. Exercise produces endorphins, the “feel good” chemical that acts as a natural painkiller.

Knowing how to properly work out and making time for it can be challenging. However, there are many ways to engage in physical activity – like going to the gym, attending fitness classes, swimming laps, jogging, playing basketball or another sport you enjoy, or doing yoga. 

You can also add in some simple modifications to your day to increase physical activity without having to go to the gym or play a sport. Try walking rather than taking the bus, getting off a bus early and walking the rest of the way, using stairs rather than elevators, biking, parking farther in a parking lot, etc. 

Even if you’re only able to work out in 10-minute increments, exercise can elevate your mood, release tension, and help keep your body (and mind) healthy.

  1. Build a Support System

Having supportive people in your life is the key to stress management. Surround yourself with family and friends who uplift you, encourage you, listen without judgement, and can provide sound perspective. 

Some friends or family members may be good at listening and sympathizing. Others might excel at practical help, like bringing over a home-cooked meal or helping with child care.

You may need to expand your network. Join an organization, attend a support group, or get professional help if you lack supportive people in your life.

  1. Have an Outlet

Do you enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music or some other creative pursuit? Engage in activities that bring you pleasure and joy; research shows that reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate, too.

Your schedule may be filled with lectures and study groups, but try to find at least a couple of hours each week to pursue a hobby or other activity that you enjoy. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs!

Building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.

  1. Practice Relaxation Techniques 

Pace yourself throughout the day, taking regular breaks from work or other structured activities. During breaks from class, studying, or work, spend time walking outdoors, listen to music or just sit quietly, to clear and calm your mind.

Meditation is a simple way to reduce stress that you can do any place at any time. Begin with simple techniques such as deep breathing, guided meditation, or repeating a mantra. 

Deep-breathing exercises can help melt away tension. Try this exercise: Inhale slowly through your nose, hold the breath for three seconds, then exhale through your mouth, and repeat as needed. This helps prevent the short, shallow breaths that often accompany feelings of tension.

  1. Get Professional Help

Everybody needs help from time to time. If you find it especially difficult to adjust to the changes or ongoing challenges of college life, your campus likely has resources to help. Reach out to:

  • Your college or university’s counseling services
  • Your student advisor or a resident assistant
  • A doctor or therapist

In college, stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Do your best to understand what kind of stress you’re feeling, what’s causing it, and how you can respond to it productively. By addressing your stress in a healthy way, you are doing all that you can to make the most of your college education.
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References:

  1. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/ 
  2. https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness/Taking-Care-of-Your-Body/Managing-Stress
  3. https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/balancing-stress/
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195