Why Is College So Hard? (5 Tips To Handle The Stress!)

Why Is College So Hard?

This post contains affiliate links.

As a BetterHelp affiliate, I may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.

Starting college is one of the most exciting times in someone’s life, it is a rite of passage that opens a gateway to a bright future. However, so many of us are stopped in our tracks when the real work hits, and we realize how hard college actually is. But exactly why is college so hard?

There are many reasons why college might feel so hard, and these are often very personal to everyone. The lack of structure, the harder course work, and the independence and responsibility all create an environment that might feel harder and more stressful than high school.

You are not alone if you feel that college is hard, and if you are struggling to adjust to the new life.

Almost every student has, at one point or another, struggled with the transition from high school to university. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed in any way, remember it is completely normal and natural to feel this way.

Note: if you feel you’re struggling in college significantly, consider BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a convenient and affordable way to get professional counseling. I can’t say enough good things about them, just check out their reviews!

Why Is College So Hard And Stressful?

How to handle college stress

One of the main reasons why so many people find that college is so hard and stressful is that they are now relying on themselves for their own success. It is not like high school, where you would be called out for missing class, or where you had dedicated study hall hours and teachers around all the time.

At university, you are completely in charge of your own success. This independence, and lack of accountability, is often a huge hurdle for people to overcome. After the structure of high school, it might feel great being able to skip a college class with no consequences if you feel like sleeping in.

There is nobody keeping track of when you study and whether or not you have spent time reading course material, it is all up to you. While this freedom can feel amazing, it often leads to students falling behind, as socializing and relaxing are prioritized over actual college work.

Falling behind, even slightly, in college, can be difficult to come back from. You might feel the stress of the coursework if you are not keeping up, and this really does create the feeling of college being hard.

The course work and material in college are more specific and focused, and while you do have the freedom to choose the classes and courses you want, the work is more difficult than in high school. However, this is still manageable if you stay organized and don’t let the freedom of university lead you astray from doing your actual work.

Is It Normal To Struggle In College?

You might be happy to know that it is normal to struggle in college, and you are not alone. This feeling can get worse if your struggle is made harder by bad grades, and you feel like there is no way to dig yourself out of the hole.

For many students, this moment is one where they decide to give up on college, or push through and make it out with a degree. Yes, it can be difficult to work through bad grades, demotivation, and a feeling of just not being good enough, but almost all college students go through it, and you will make it through as well.

Going from high school to college is a huge change, and is often a difficult transition for many students. There is less structure and more freedom, and this accountability can go either way. Some thrive off of being in control of their own time, and others take longer to adjust.

You might need to give yourself a few months to adjust to college life, to learn how to structure your time and adapt the way you work and learn to adjust to how it is done in university. This could lead to you feeling as though you are struggling and almost failing, but it is something you need to push through.

Take this struggle as a sign to refocus and rethink the way you are tackling college life. Maybe you need help organizing your time management, or you need to find new methods of studying. If you are struggling, seek help on campus from a counselor or academic advisor.

They are there to help struggling students and are a resource who can definitely help you make a life for yourself in college that much easier.

Does College Get Easier Or Harder?

Is It Ok To Get B’s In College?

Whether college gets easier or harder is a completely personal opinion, but for most, college does seem to get easier as time goes by, even though course material might become harder and more complicated.

Most students battle in the first year of college with adjusting to their new way of life. This often gets into the way of the actual work in college, and paired together with extra work and dropping grades, it might make college seem incredibly hard.

As time goes by, you will adjust to your new life and studies. You will figure out what works for you best, how to achieve your grades, how to schedule your time, and how to thrive in the college environment. Once you have grasped this, and changed from a high school mentality, college does seem to get easier.

You will find that the course work becomes more specific and focused as you progress in your course and classes, but now that you are better equipped to deal with college life, this becomes easier to deal with, and you might even enjoy the challenge that the course material brings.

So while the work gets harder, college life does get easier, it is just a matter of time before you settle into your new routine and new way of thinking!

Is College Harder Than Used To Be?

It is generally accepted that college is harder than it used to be. This is caused by a combination of different factors. One being that course material has changed over time, and as academia has developed, the material has become more involved and complicated.

Another reason is that because college is so expensive nowadays, students are having to work while enrolled at college, maintaining steady jobs while studying, just to cover their student fees and other expenses. Juggling a job, whether part-time or more, while studying is incredibly difficult, and is something past generations did not have to do as much.

There are more factors complicating life for a college student nowadays, and along with harder course material, college does seem to be harder than it used to be!

Is It Ok To Get B’s In College?

College grades are calculated differently than in high school and are regarded differently as well. If you are a typical A student, but find yourself achieving B’s at university, don’t be worried.

Achieving steady B’s actually puts you above the average student, which is something to be proud of! Do not focus too much on the actual grade, but rather focus on how well you are grasping the work, and then the pass will come from there.

Why Do Good Students Do Bad In College?

It is a common sight in university, students who did well in high school struggling in college. Most of the time, this is because they were successful in the approach taken to learn in high school, but this approach is different in college.

It might take them some time to readjust how they take in information and study to suit their university curriculum, but it will come over time. Many of these students also lived a very structured life in high school, and with that gone in college, they battle to take control.

In college, you need to give yourself time to adjust and to get used to your new independence and lifestyle, and the rest will follow.

5 Tips To Handle The Stress of College

Sleep Enough

Lack of sleep will exacerbate any and all stress you have while in college.

Make sure you make sleep a priority or else you will risk feeling absolutely overwhelmed the following day. Pulling all-nighters are never a good idea.

Studies show that all-nighters actually hurt your grades – you’ll be much better off studying consistently than trying to get it all out in one go.

Eat Well

Just like sleep, you need to eat well to make sure your taking care of your body. The dining hall in college has a lot of amazing options but unhealthy diets are shown to trigger stress and anxiety in many.

You’ll end up feeling more tired and unfocused if you are constantly eating poorly which will make you feel worse in the long-term.

Avoid Energy Drinks

Energy drinks and caffeine sound like a good idea in the moment but they actually heighten your anxiety greatly.

You will likely be very jittery and shaky without much focus. It can be easy to start relying on energy drinks to get you through the day, but the tradeoff of more stress and anxiety is just never worth it.


Take deep breaths and consider taking up meditation, even if just for 5 minutes every morning.

Studies have shown that students who meditate or have designated quiet time have better academic performance.

Taking care of your body and mind leads to more confidence and increased empathy which leads to better mental health overall.

Ask For Help

Can’t stress this enough. Getting help from others, whether thats a friend or counselor is incredibly important.

Services like BetterHelp offer amazing access to counselors who can help you deal with the high demands of college. The best part is, you can communicate with your counselor as often as you want!

If you’re going through something, you don’t have to wait an entire week until your next session. You can literally just pick up your phone and text them.

Enjoyed this article? Make sure to check these out next:

15 Amazing Gifts For A 20 Year Old College Girl She’ll Love

What To Give A Guy On Graduation Day? (15 IDEAS HE’LL LOVE)

Follow by Email