- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 08 October 2014
Post-secondary education is often the first taste individuals have for assuming the roles as an adult. Whether a community college, 4-year institution or other, after high school, students are beginning to assume roles of greater significance. But, are these new roles the cause of greater stress and mental illness among students?
The Outlook believes that through the requirements and demands of colleges and universities on students, the post-secondary education system has essentially created factories tasked with creating stressed individuals. Classroom prerequisites, club and social obligations and more combine to make for higher levels of stress and mental illness among university goers than in the past.
Dr. Franca Mancini, university Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, viewed students as seemingly more stressed now than ever. She said, "College is inherently stressful, and it seems that current students are showing even more signs of poor stress management and a need to acquire better coping skills."
Mancini said, "The pressure of academics, combined with social, family and financial concerns in a very busy world makes it hard to find time to clear one's mind and relax. Learning stress management techniques is essential, and it's never too late to start."
In contrast, Dr. Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, said, "Modern education is just as stressful as it has been in the past. In fact, years ago, it was perhaps even more stressful for students because they did not have access to the amount of information that is now available at their fingertips."
She continued, "Decades ago, students had to conduct all of their research manually. We can view technology as a double-edged sword. It has allowed us to access information within seconds. Due to the power of technology and the volume that is created, we have to do more shifting of pertinent information."
The Outlook reached the consensus that upon entering college an increase in stress is almost expected to occur as students take on greater responsibilities. Compounded with the fact that the college years are often seen as the time to build the foundation for the rest of one's adult life, students struggle to find ways to effectively manage their anxieties.
One editor said, "I never really worried about work in high school, but [in] college the work is harder, more time consuming, and I feel like it means more. What and how you do in college foreshadows your future and career." This sentiment draws on the drastic difference between high school and collegiate work, which students are often unprepared [for]. Combined with the stress of living away from home, many students are left to find the means to manage their stress on their own.
Luckily universities offer a plethora of services to aid in mental well-being. One member of The Outlook editorial staff recalled a Monmouth specific program that happens around the final exam time. "...I've heard good things about [the programs]. I went to one freshmen year before finals that had puppies you could pet. It's impossible to be stressed out when you're petting puppies," the editor said.
Thus, there is a level of creativity to beating the stress that is seemingly unavoidable in college. While traditional services and programs are useful, students often need to think of tailor-made ways to overcome daily pressures; The Outlook staff finds music and exercise as beneficial in de-stressing from weekly pressures.
One Outlook editor stated that college is "trial and error." The editor continued, "[trial and error] best explains [college] because we find now that when things don't work we don't do them that way again. We find methods that work best for us and are our particular circumstances and stresses."