The Crestiad

Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923

Students’ Stress: Sources, Effects, and Coping Methods

By Abigail Ormiston, Copy Editor
“Stress is a fact of life,” according to Dr. Micah Sadigh, professor of psychology.

Many people including college students stress of all kinds throughout their lives.

Some of the triggers of stress in college students would include major, year, age, the kind of students, the school and the student’s family. But it is not limited to those factors. Other big stressors could include money, work and relationships.

Researchers from Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program, concluded that the top stressor for students is borrowing money for college. Following closely behind is repaying loans, the actual cost of educations, the need to find a job after college and the course workload.

Karly Lindemuth, sophomore from Penn State University, said she is really stressed about money.

“In order for me to be able to pay for college, I have to also work. It was really hard for me to get a loan and having any spare money to have.” said Lindemuth.

The Institute for College Access & Success wrote an annual report for “Student Debt and The Class of 2013” which was published in November of 2014. This report is on the cumulative students’ loan debt of recent college graduates from four-year institutions. The data shows that debt levels are continuing to rise.
It states that 69 percent of college seniors of 2013 had student loans and the average borrowed amount is $28,400. But 129 of colleges reported average debt of more than $35,000.

Leaving college with a great amount of debt and finding a way to pay for college is a huge concern of Henry Munoz, a Northern Illinois University junior.

“It’s stressful now because of the economic position I’m in and how that ties with the financial concepts lie how to pay for my next scholastic year, along with where I will be staying for that coming year. I’m really stressing on how to gain funds for my schooling.” said Munoz.

He said that he feels he worries about money a little too much at times and loses focus of the classwork he needs to get done.

Inceptia researchers also found that students who more than 20 hours per week during the academic year are more likely to report that financial stress impacts their academic performance negatively causing them to reduce their course work load.

“On top of being a full time student, I work full time as well. It helps me pay for books and other supplies,” Lindemuth said.

She expressed there were things she wished her high school would have taught her before “pushing her into the real world”.

Lindemuth would have liked to learn the importance of balancing money, paying bills, doing taxes and other basic living essentials. “They failed to teach us things that really matter. Oh, but I can surely tell you how to use the Pythagorean Theorem. Too bad I can’t pay my bills with that.”

She added that it has been a struggle learning those things on her own, with some help from her mother.
Sometimes, however she feels overwhelmed by the issues that money brings to her. “Before I started working, I would worry about how I am going to pay for the things I need for my classes that I wouldn’t pay attention to what actually was going on in my classes which took a little bit of a toll on my grades.”

Though money is the biggest concern of most college students, the academic course workload is close behind.
“All college students are affected by stress to varying degrees. The more demands they have to deal with on a daily basis, the more stress they experience. Tests, papers, presentations, et cetera, all act as sources of stress,” said Sadigh.

Munoz often worries about his academic duties.

“The hardest part of juggling my work, as a junior is the readings for my classes. When courses are level 300 and above, the readings are essential and it is sometimes difficult to keep track of what to read when topics linger on multiple pages and not even show up on tests,” Munoz said.

Lindemuth transferred to Penn State this academic year and shared how that affected her academic studies.

“My course load work is sometimes difficult to handle. I transferred schools in the fall, from Lock Haven to PSU; I also switched my major to a more difficult one. At Lock Haven, I was going for social work. When I transferred to PSU, I switched my major to Rehabilitative Human Services, which has been more difficult, to be honest,” Lindemuth said.

Lindemuth added that some of her classes are the same, but the ones that are not, are more difficult and they include more research that her previous major.

She also said that procrastination is one of her biggest problems. She procrastinates and ends up feeling overwhelmed by the large amount of work she has to do. “My biggest weakness is definitely time management when I have work to do.”

The stress of college can harm students.

“Stress can contribute to a host of psychological conditions. Though it is never the cause, we may see the manifestation of depression, certain forms of sleep disorders, aggressive behavior, impulsive behavior, or social withdrawal,” Sadigh said.

Munoz said stress has affected his sleeping and eating patterns. He has noticed a lack of sleep when he has a lot going on. He added that when he is stressed, he hardly eats and what he eats is never healthy. His diet contains mostly fast foods or quick snacks, like chips or candy.

According to Sadigh, one of the biggest things about stress is how we deal with it. “We can either deal with it effectively, or ineffectively by engaging in maladaptive behaviors, such as drinking, eating the wrong types of food, sleep deprivation, et cetera.”

Lindemuth says the support she gets from her family is one of the biggest things that help her deal with stress. In addition, she said, “I use exercising as an outlet to relieve the stress in a healthy manner; I work out six to seven times a week.”

When Munoz is stressed out, he often listens to music. He added that the kind of music he listens to depends on his mood and what he is working on.

“I listen to hardcore music when I want people to leave me alone and EDM [Electronic Dance Music] when I want to get motivated and get work done at a very fast pace,” Munoz said.

Munoz added that being close to home helps as well. When he gets really stressed out, he can go home and take a break from school for a few days.

Sadigh advises students facing an overwhelming amount of stress to consider it as something that depletes our physical and psychological resources.

“The key to stress management is to replenish our resources. This includes getting proper amounts of sleep, engaging in recreational activities, eating the right kinds of food and having a strong social support network, which constitutes as one of the most powerful modes of replenishing our diminishing resources.”

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This entry was posted on May 6, 2015 by in 2015, Opinion and tagged , , , .
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