College students stretched too thin

By Abbie-Lauren Meredith, News Editor –

Stress. The word is almost synonymous with college student. So why does stress play such a major role in students’ lives?

Most are playing a balancing game with various responsibilities: classes, jobs, paying for classes, family, and everything else. It would be nearly impossible for stress not to be an underlying factor in their lives.

The list continues for each student and all makes for a perfect “stress storm.” Stress can be a motivator to get work done. However, stress becomes problematic when it prohibits student success.

A 2015 study done by the National College Health Assessment found that 30 percent of students reported that stress negatively impacted their academics and more than 85 percent had felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities at some point during the year.

The vast majority of students attending MCC are experiencing college-level work for the first time and are having to make major adjustments in their time management and study habits.

In high school (and some college classes), tests are multiple choice, the essays are standardized, and unless it’s an AP class, notes and the need for study methods are almost non-existent. In many college courses, it’s vastly different and time management is key. Often, students procrastinate and then are forced to do an extreme amount of work in very little time.

“Professors are probbaly the greatest people to speak to first if you are having trouble managing time or understanding the material,” said Sylvia Hayes, MCC counselor. She also advised that students learn to say “No” sometimes because often they are taking on too many responsibilities.

Time management won’t completely cure all the stress, but it will significantly help reduce the amount of stress students experience. By managing time, the extra time that would’ve been used stressing and overworking can be utilized to accomplish more tasks.

“The thing that caused me the most stress is making sure all of my papers and assignments are good and turned in on time,” said Nathan Mcwhinnie, an MCC freshman. “It was hard adjusting at first because in college you have more freedom than you do in high school.”

College students have plenty to worry about and creating unnecessary stress is a recipe for disaster.

A May 2012 study by Inceptia, a non-profit financial education advocate, found that four out five top causes of stress in college students were money- related. This is no surprise since another word synonymous with college student is “broke.”

College students are constantly stressed about money because money dictates almost every aspect of their lives. Paying for tuition? Money. Rent? Money. Food? Money. Working one or more jobs? Money.

Working long hours and going to school is stressful and some students barely have the time to give their studies the appropriate amount of time. MCC offers resources to help students minimize the impact of stress.

The counseling office is available for walk-ins and by appointment and the counselors are there to help students both academically and personally. Another option is the College Success Seminar, which is a one-semester class that teaches important skills such as study habits/methods, time management, and tips for coping with stress. The tutoring center and special services department is also another resource for students who are sturggling in a class or have a disabiliity.

Stress will always be part of the college experience, but that doesn’t mean it has to become a roadblock to success. Learning time management and utilizing resources at the college are the first steps in reducing stress and moving forward.

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