University students are in a transitional phase of their life and in this period of time they face new challenges in many aspects of life that they will need to cope with. It is normal for everyone to struggle and face challenges in the beginning of a new life cycle and even more so when a person enters adulthood and starts studying in the university. This path may seem long and difficult, especially due to the increased demands compared to the previous years of high school, where the individual lived in a fairly protected environment which allowed him/her to a large extent to focus on studying and achieving academic goals.               It is also known from scientific research that this is a population is at high risk of experiencing a lot of stress during their university studies. The symptoms that university students face concern anxious manifestations due to the existence of many stressful factors, which affect the adaptation and effective management of stressful situations. In addition, students are also in a phase of life where they need to properly prepare for their exit to a demanding labor market. In order to succeed in a demanding working field they must acquire the necessary professional skills at a high level so as to be competitive in the workplace. It is therefore important that they effectively manage the changes and stress they may experience in relation to their academic environment and which may negatively affect their academic progress and performance. Starting university the main change that occurs for the individual is that he/she is now treated as an adult, which implies that the individual is now responsible for managing and organizing their education. This change also marks significant differences in terms of the academic environment in the following areas: ·         Attendance and participation in courses and academic activities: attendance is mainly optional and under certain conditions mandatory.·         Program: the courses and timetable are determined by the student depending on the preferred academic subjects.


·         Study and assignments: assignments and study are self-organized with less guidance than in secondary education.·         Method of examination and grading: the grade results from the final written (more rarely oral) examination on a large study material and several times in combination with assignments. ·         Teaching style: large groups of students, fast pace, high standard and demands.·         Academic requirements: books and the volume of material differ, there is more assignments and collaboration with other students, cognitive skills development is needed, and internships are often required.·         Class size and contact with fellow students: lectures take place primarily in auditoriums with large numbers of people which do not allow the same level of personal contact with fellow students as well as the professors.


“It’s all so different from high school and I’m panicking. I still haven’t managed to adapt and I’m afraid I won’t. I was only thinking about positives of student life and didn’t realize the obligations I would have”A. 18 years old, student of DUTH. The daily stress related to the academic field that a student may experience can lead to emotional exhaustion and reduce the ability to meet the demands of such an environment and the performance may be affected even by factors not directly related to the academic environment.Some of the most important factors include:


·         Relationships with the family and within the family (bad relationships with family members, rift between family members).·         Major life events (death and bereavement, serious illness).


·         Family and academic expectations – pressure from parents to perform well.·         Distance from family and independence.·         Changes in social activities and social contacts

  • Close interpersonal relationships and events arising from them, e.g. breakup, dysfunctional relationship, inability to form a relationship, maintain a relationship.

·         Friendships, inability to maintain satisfactory relationships, developing relationships with fellow students, friendships left behind.·         Social problems and economic problems – unemployment.

  • Lack of time, difficulty in proper time management and procrastination.

·         Lifestyle, self-care (lack of sleep, alcohol-substances, poor diet) and everyday life.  What can I do to better manage the challenges and difficulties concerning the academic environment?·         Manage academic stress by increasing self-efficacy, confidence and personal achievement.·         Make sure that I actively participate and contribute meaningfully to the courses I attend.·         Focus on what I can achieve and recognize my strengths and the academic skills I have already developed.·         Engage with my academic environment in such a way that I maintain my enthusiasm and interest in my studies and what I am learning.·         Manage my time effectively and plan my student life and activities in a way that does not exhaust me and is efficient.·         Set study goals, make an action plan to achieve them, and stick to my goals so as to increase my performance and sense of accomplishment as a student


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