The Burden of Stress on College Students

By: Madeline Frost 

CHATTANOOGA, TN (mocsnews.com)- For most college students, stress has become an innate part of their lives. It seems as if they eat, sleep, and breathe stress. College is typically like taking a polar plunge into the crazy world that is adult life. Students are met with new feelings of anxiety and depression as they face the unknown.  Being away at college is often times a student’s first time being on their own. Students have to navigate new challenges including the heavy academic schedule and extracurricular activities. Stress comes in easily when we experience new environments, and according to Emma K. Adam, a professor at Northwestern University, students are experiencing stress for a reason. “It’s there to help mobilize you to meet

the demands of your day, but you’re also supposed to have times where you do shut down and relax and repair and restore.”

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student Mary Kate Sheppard backs up this claim with her own experiences. According to Sheppard, “Stress has been very prevalent in my life as well as others. It’s a combination of everything going around us, not just academically. Students have jobs, school, social lives, and on top of that are worried about finances, all while being 100’s of miles away from home.” 

College presents a copious amount of work, both in the classroom and especially outside of it. The amount of time students spend studying and doing classwork in a week is roughly the same amount of time a person spends at their full time job. Most students will take five to six classes at one time, many of which are on various subjects meaning it is difficult to find connections in the coursework. Much time will be put into an assignment just for it to be replaced with another. 

Along with the time spent on academics, students also have to navigate around

extracurricular activities. Socializing can help us release stress, but can also add to the stress students experience. This is because of the stigma that comes with college that you need to put yourself out there and be involved in many things. This causes time management to be an issue. Juggling many activities at once can be very challenging and can therefore cause the student to be stressed out rather than gaining experience or enjoyment out of that activity. 

UTC senior Kriston Faulkner states that she has struggled with the balance of her extracurricular activities. “I have been involved in a variety of clubs and teams on campus, but I have recently had to scale down on my extracurriculars. I am now only apart of the club rowing team and the Christian Student Center. By narrowing down the things I am involved in, I am able to manage my time more effectively and really focus on the reason I am here, which is for school.” 

Most students within the college population experience moderate stress. 

According to the American College Health Association, studies show that almost half of the college students in the U.S. experience moderate stress and nearly a third of college students endure high stress. As stated earlier by Professor Adam, it is important to take time to relax, repair, and restore yourself. Most colleges offer counseling programs in order to help students do just that. According to stress.org, “61% of college students seek counseling for anxiety, depression, academic performance, family issues, and relationship problems.” 

There are many ways to help students combat stress. Unfortunately stress will always be inevitable, it will continue to be a daily occurrence for many. 

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/stress-in-college-students-what-To-know.

​​https://whattobecome.com/blog/college-student-stress-statistics/ 

About Madeline Frost

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