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Psychologists have identified about a dozen key life events that can create tremendous stress. Guess one that’s near the top of the list:

Starting college.

Going to college is exciting—and a little terrifying for many people. It may be the first time someone is living away from home, likely with a stranger as a roommate. If you were at the top of your class in high school, you may find yourself surrounded by others at the top of their classes and facing a different level of competition. The structure of high school is also gone.

In many ways, you’re on your own.

So how do you cope with the stress of college? Here are some quick tips:

  1. Realize you’re not the only one. There are many of your classmates who feel the same way.
  2. There are resources available to you. Ask your guidance counselor or see what counseling services are listed on the school website. You can get access to someone to talk to. (And relax—they’ve heard it all before and know how to help.)
  3. If you fail at something early, don’t sweat it. You’ll get better. School is about learning, right? Don’t expect to know everything the first few weeks. Learn from your missteps. You’ll discover you’re growing more quickly than you imagined.
  4. If you find yourself resorting to negative behaviors to cope (like drinking more), go to your college counseling center. Don’t hesitate.
  5. Build your own routine. You have the freedom to do this now. If you work better in the morning or in the evening, schedule time to study when you’re at your best. Some people find success in treating college like a job:  work from 9 to 5—schedule your classes and study time during the day, then relax at night. Pick what works best for you.

Remember—as you become accustomed to your new surroundings and new challenges, the stress will fade. And you’ll find that college is an amazing adventure and experience.