Imagine Health

Managing Stress in College

What can Impact Mental Health in College?

A lot of aspects of college life can impact student’s mental health and wellbeing. Trying to balance multiple commitments whilst also finding time to make friends, have fun and enjoy the new experience can often be stressful. If you are starting college and facing potential stress due to the adjustment, here are a few helpful tips to protect your mental health and wellbeing.

Adapting to Workload in College

The workload in college is significantly greater than that of secondary school. It often comes without the hand-holding from teachers or parents that we may have experienced before.

It has an independent learning nature in which classes are longer, often more challenging and involve independent study. Students may become stressed trying to balance the workload, get good grades and try to have a social life. In order to adapt to this new routine, make sure to stay as organised as possible:

  1. Make a personalised timetable of all your classes, their locations and your different lecturers.
  2. Note down the dates of assignments due. (Remember to schedule the completion date of an assignment for a couple of days before the actual deadline. This is to keep time for proofreading).
  3. Make sure to note down the email and consultation times of your lecturers and remember to visit them when you have questions regarding your lectures or assignments.
  4. Getting your friends together to form a study group can help you keep motivated to stay on top of your workload. It can also serve as a great way to meet new people in your class.

Aside from workload, college can be stressful for other reasons. Transitioning from secondary school is a big step and can often be quite daunting for people. Here are some helpful tips to support you during this transition:

Get organised

Create a space where you can work on assignments and study. Have this a dedicated quiet, interruption free zone. It is helpful to create a schedule, this will take some time to get a balance between college work and leisure activities (but always make time for leisure activities – they are just as important).


One of the best ways to combat stress is to exercise regularly. Exercise, no matter what type, can help to increase your mood, release tension and keep your body and mind healthy.

Eat and Sleep right

Healthy food and enough sleep are priority when trying to juggle everything in college. Although fast-food may appear to be quicker, cheaper and easier than making your own healthy meal, it is important to have a balanced diet. Similarly, making sure to get to bed at a reasonable time and to get an average of 7 hours’ sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing.

Find support

Make sure to stay connected with friends and family regularly. College provides the optimal chance to create new friendships with people who are in the same boat, so make sure to support each other. Talking with a friend can relieve any feelings of tension or stress you may be feeling.

Where to find support

If you find it particularly difficult to get accustomed to college life, most colleges have resources to help. The contact details of resources of various colleges are listed below.


TCD – TCD Mental Health

UCD – UCD Student Counselling

DCU – DCU Mental Health

DIT – DIT Counselling

UCC – UCC Mental Health

NUIM – NUIM Mental Health

NUIG – NUIG Counselling

UL – UL Student Student Health


Nicola Keane

Assistant Psychologist

Imagine Health