As the AACS high school competition is ending and finals are beginning, one characteristic seems to be the most common in the lives of BJU students around this point of the semester: stress. A study conducted by The Associated Press found that eight out of every 10 college students have experienced daily stress within the past three months of the survey.

So many things can cause stress at this point of the semester. Grades, relationships, health problems, preparing for life after graduation, finding a job for this summer and so many other variables affect each student on campus. Right now, each student on campus is preparing for finals week, whether it’s finishing last projects or starting study guides and planning finals week schedules. For a student, finals week can be one of the most stressful weeks of the semester because of the pressure to do well on multiple exams in a few days and end the semester well.

Stress shows itself differently in each student as well. Headaches, eating problems, neck and back pain, changes in sleep patterns are all symptoms of stress. Stress adds a variable into a person’s daily routine that is out of their normal pattern, and their body feels the pressure and tries to adjust in different ways.

Symptoms of stress for some students go even further than changes in normal patterns. A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that 10 percent of college students are given a diagnosis of depression. According to Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, depression symptoms in college students include loss of appetite, falling grades, falling self-esteem, decreased interest in social life, excessive or low amounts of sleep and confusion.

The UIC study also found that suicide is the “second leading cause of death in college populations.” Suicide warning signs include changes in behavior, lost interest in activities, withdrawal from friends and family, and a sense of hopelessness.

These effects of stress are not something far from the campus of Bob Jones University. Many students undergo stressful situations and respond by lapsing into old sin habits, self-destructive behavior or anger toward others.

Stress is practically inevitable as a college student, but what is important is the way you handle it. As Christians, we know that we are not alone in any situation. God doesn’t just dump us in a situation and watch us drown; through life’s trials He is our true Lifeguard keeping us afloat. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.” Because we are Christians, we know that we can rely on Christ to help us through every trial. With stress, it is vital that we don’t give up or give in to the temptations that come through stress, but that we use those trials to build our relationships with God.

Instead of mentally and physically shutting down under the stresses of life and the end of the semester, remember to always make time for the important things. Exercise, healthy eating and adequate sleep should not be neglected.

But beyond taking care of our bodies, we must fully rely on God for the strength to get through the semester.  We must meditate on God’s Word and not neglect to take time to pour out our hearts to Him in prayer. He knows every little thing about our lives, every situation that we’re going through, and every emotion that we’re feeling.

Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

Only He has a peace that can comfort us when life is tough or hurts the most.