The first year of college marks a significant milestone in your transition to adulthood. As you settle into a campus routine, you will most likely be tasked with adjusting to being separated from your family, forming new friendships, and coping with a more rigorous academic mist/curriculum. Although it is often exhilarating to gain a new sense of independence and responsibility during this process, at times you may find it difficult to juggle the demands of your social and academic life. Unfortunately, among students of color, the common stressors of the college experience are often compounded by the burden of race-related stress. Racism and discrimination continue to be a fact of life for many students of color on college campuses. At times, racism is overt, such as the use of racial slurs, graffiti, or even violence. However, it can also frequently arise in more subtle forms, such as stereotyping, assumptions, or exclusion. In any form, racism and discrimination add stress and challenges to the lives of students of color. Finding ways to cope and bringing concerns to the forefront are important steps in owning personal power.
The purpose of this document (thanks to the counseling centers at the University of Illinois and UCSC) is to define race-related stress and the impact it can have on the academic and social success of students of color. Additionally, it will provide tips on how to effectively cope with race-related stress and maximize one’s academic potential.