Semester Update: We’re Stressed Out

By Gabrielle Rente
Elm Staff Writer

We have all been there; you’re riding in the car listening to the radio, and realize you can relate to Twenty-One Pilot’s song “Stressed Out.” Even if you don’t like the song, “out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the latter.”
According to the annual Stress in America survey done in 2015 by the American Psychological Association, young adults feel the most stress out of all generations. As college students, we can second that motion after a day of classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and socializing; however, these are not the only contributors to our stress.
For freshmen, the cause derives from the transition between high school and college. Many struggle to adapt to their newfound independence and the volume of work that comes with the genuine college experience. They begin to compare themselves to their peers and allow self-doubt to creep in, leading to the biggest source of stress for student’s self-image.
Students start developing a competitive, perfectionistic mentality, which destroys their positive self-image. These unrealistic expectations may drive a student to sacrifice basic needs, such as rest, resulting in sleep deprivation. They might even over-eat or not eat at all to handle their stress. This leads to the development of depression which cripples the quality in school work and can even tarnish relationships with peers. When unaddressed, the problem of stress can worsen even to alcoholism and substance abuse.
So how do we avoid all of this?
While the heavy workload remains fixed, developing skills in time management decreases the hassle of balancing assignments. The Office of Academic Skills holds multiple seminars throughout the semester that teach students how to polish up on time management skills and even how to pull effective information out of reading assignments. One particular seminar that occurred recently was specifically titled, “How to Put Off Procrastination.”
If seminars offer little help, then utilize your professors’ office hours. Their door is open for a reason. Bring the work you are having trouble with to the office hours and ask questions. For writing assignments (we all have had at least one so far) go to the Writing Center and ask questions. They have students there from various majors, so even if you are writing a lab report for chemistry, bring it in. There is also the Quantitative Skills Center, peer tutors, course mentoring, etc. Most importantly, do not be afraid to seek out help. Everyone is here to learn.
So having control of our academics only lessens our anxiety. A great way to remain happy and healthy is a good diet. Instead of coffee, drink tea (the Literary House has free tea FYI) If you hate the taste of tea, then try taking part in relaxing activities. Look out for emails about meditation at Hotchkiss Recital Hall or look into taking part in yoga at the Johnson Fitness Center. The best medicine of all is socializing. There is nothing better than casually hanging out with friends and laughing.
Now, take the misconception about therapy and tear it up. There is nothing wrong with going to counseling. In fact, students should take advantage of the counseling services here because there will not come another time in your life when you can talk to a therapist for free.
If you have a friend who seems to be under stress, then openly reach out to them. Tell them that you are concerned for them. Offer to go with them to counseling or office hours or anything of the sort. If you yourself are feeling stressed or anxious, then please do yourself a favor and breathe. Grab a friend and talk to them or make an appointment for counseling. Just know that you are in control.
Finally, it is crucial to keep in mind that, while you are here, enjoy your time. Maybe these won’t be the best four years of your life, but treat every day like it has the potential to be the greatest time of your life, and take time to enjoy the ride.

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