April 29, 2017

Haley’s House: Support can squash student stress

Spring semester finals are three weeks away, but between summer and finals are tests, projects, videos, papers and more tests.  For some, the weeks may also include an internship, another job and applications for those “big kid” jobs post-graduation.  The pressure is on to be successful in the last few weeks of school and all that pressure creates a perfect space for overwhelming stress. 

Stress leads to a domino effect of negative impacts on a person’s life.  It can lead to illness, loss of interest or motivation, poor academic performance, anxiety and depression.  In the midst of the emotion, I believe there is one phrase to remember, despite how hard it may be to believe – you are not alone.           

According to a study performed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 40 percent of college students have felt more than an average amount of stress within the past 12 months.  In this same study, 80 percent of students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year and 45 percent have felt things were hopeless. 

Illustration by: Sarah Blankenship

Illustration by: Sarah Blankenship

Dr. Nancy Stockton, the director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Indiana University said “to be human is to experience stress” and the sources of stress vary between students. 

But there is a difference between good stress and bad stress.  Good stress keeps you in a positive state of mind, compared to bad stress which hinders your every day life. 

As college students, we tend to lean more toward the bad stress as work, school and other added pressures pile up.  We may feel there is not enough time in the day, week or month to finish the ever growing list of things to do.  We may feel like we are alone.  But the important thing to remember is your are not. 

As the statistics said, 40 percent of college students experience above the average amount of stress.  Friends, significant others, work colleagues all may be experiencing the same situation.  Communication is the key, both with your peers and with yourself. 

Recently, I finally realized that by simply talking to someone, whether it be a friend, a parent or significant other, you are allowing the stress to escape.  You are lifting even the slightest bit of built up pressure. 

If you are feeling stressed with school, you can talk to your professors.  Let them know how you are feeling, what you are struggling with.  Do not be afraid to ask for help.  Overwhelming amounts of bad stress can lead to a loss of interest in school and poor academic performance. The teachers are not here to watch you fail.  In fact, they want you to succeed and to do your best possible work. 

There are outlets for college students to find ways to lead a less stressful and pressured life.  If you are not a talker, that is okay too; some of us do better not talking.  Try yoga or some other form of physical activity, baking or seeing a movie.  But find a way that will fit your personality and will alleviate some of the pressures you may be feeling. 

Stress does not need to control your life.  You do not have to lay awake at night worrying and over thinking about the list of things to do the next day.  Stress does not have to make you feel alone because you are, in fact, not alone.     

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