Go to class. Do your homework. Study for Exams. Repeat. The life of a college student can seem like too much to handle all at once, but is that something that every student goes through? Do they experience stress all the time?
School can be tough, and a lot of times the amount of school-related stress can really influence a student’s mental health.
According to a survey by the Associated Press and MTVU, “four out of 10 college students report they feel stressed often. One out of five say they feel stressed most of the time. One out of four students report experiencing daily stress and one in 10 report thoughts of suicide.”
The COC counseling website also offers stress management tips and explains the cause of school related stress.
“Stress manifests itself as a psychological or physical reaction to outside influences. Stress in college is inevitable although it can be managed so as not to become overwhelming and create negative consequences for students. Understanding the triggers of stress and learning some basic tools to help manage it can minimize its effect,” according to the COC counseling webpage.
COC biology major Agostina Galluzzo says that the last four to five weeks of the semester are the most stressful for her.
“You have to find a way to balance studying for all of your upcoming tests and finals all at once,” Galluzzo said. “I find that I’m usually stressed when I have a test coming up, but with my classes that’s basically every week.”
Other students like COC administration of justice major Sarah Ross says she doesn’t think she experiences as much stress from school as her friends do.
“I don’t really stress out too much when it comes to my school work. The work in my classes is pretty straightforward, so I don’t really have to study much. It’s usually just when I have a big test, like a final or a midterm coming up,” said Ross.
Aside from the students’ point of view, campus staff also notice a big difference when it comes to a stressful time of the semester.
“I can tell that kids are more anxious for sure and there’s also a lot more people coming in during finals week. We’re a lot more busy, which I guess is good because people are
studying, but they’re also very anxious,” said The Learning Center (TLC) student employee Jessica McCarty.
Many college students will agree that they are stressed at some point throughout the semester, but how is it that they cope with stress?
“To handle my stress I take mental breaks throughout the day and when I study,” said Galluzzo. “This can be anything from texting a friend, calling my mom, petting my dog, stretching, eating, crying. Whatever feels right.”
Aside from school, many students have several other commitments to worry about in their day-to-day life.
Working part-time, or even full-time, planning a future career, worrying about home life, and even trying to incorporate some time for a social life.
“Students need to understand that for each 1 hour they are in class, they will have 2-3 hours of homework. That means for a student taking 15 units, they will have 30-45 hours of time committed to class and outside work. This is on top of any time dedicated to work, family, sports, etc. Student often start out with their time already maxed-out. When a problem emerges, the student’s stress level is sure to increase,” according to the COC Counseling webpage.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that “85 percent of college students reported they had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year” and “30 percent of college students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance”.
College of the Canyons has many resources to show support for students as well.
Throughout the year, the Student Health and Wellness Center coordinates events and activities like Pups and Chill, a day where therapy dogs are on campus to comfort students, and giving out goodie bags with free scantrons and tips on how to manage stress.
According to the non-profit organization Education, Training and Research (ETR), there are also general ways to help reduce stress.
“Exercise regularly, but not within three hours of bedtime. Exercising late in the afternoon seems to relieve stress best,” said ETR. “Do things that relax you in the hour before bedtime. Take a warm bath. Meditate. Read. Drink warm milk.”
Another stress reliever they mentioned was to “keep a ‘worry journal'” to write down a list of worries and tasks to be completed.
Stress is one of the major factors of suicide and students who may be suicidal are encouraged to call the National suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/