Stress, finals, and the college student psyche

Finals week can be a stressful time of the year for college students. Not only do they have to study for the most important tests of the semester, but they also have to deal with the everyday struggles of life. Procrastination, deadlines, money, and other factors are large contributors to stress, but there are ways students can combat these stresses.

Mason Gholson, a biology freshman, said, “The pressure to do well in classes and the pressure of time constraints are big contributors to stress in college students. Many kids also stressed out by a sudden increase in responsibility since many of them are on their own for the first time.”

A study conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles states that 69 percent of first year college students report feeling homesick. College can be a big transition, it introduces students to an entirely new world.

Robert Mackey, fine arts sophomore, said, “Being on my own for the first time was definitely shocking to me. I had to learn how to do things for myself without the help of my parents. Personally, deadlines induce a lot of stress for me in college as well. College is a big transition from high school mainly due to the fact that the teachers don’t remind you about turning things in as often. It really makes you take responsibility and initiative in your life, that alone can be stressful for college kids.”

College is a time when students are required to plan out everything they need to do on their own. For some, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the assignments and deadlines that college brings. These problems help create another problem, procrastination.

Jordan Walker, business sophomore, said, “Many students get overwhelmed with homework or tests and find irrelevant activities to help distract them from their responsibilities. In short this is a good way to deal with stress but down the road it could make matters worse by making the student rush his or her work just to get it turned in on time.”

Distractions play a large role in procrastination and can be hard to avoid for many students. Simple things such as watching Netflix or going out to a club with friends can seem fun at the time, but could also create unnecessary stress for a student.

“In my own college experience I have definitely had moments where I’ve blown off an assignment to go hang out with friends, and while at the time I wasn’t feeling any stress, as soon as I got back home all my assignments hit me at once,” Walker said.

Adding to their everyday work load, students also have finals to look forward to.

Kilee Donaldson, education freshman, said, “Finals put an extreme amount of stress on students because the workloads of students increases and sometimes doubles. They can make you feel overwhelmed when added on to the normal stresses people have to deal with everyday.”

Students have also found ways to cope with and avoid the stresses college can bring.

Tyreke Fears, radiology junior, said, “Some good ways I’ve found to deal with stress, is spending time with friends, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. Also, creating a schedule to help me manage my time has made college less intimidating.”

Exercise is a popular way that students find helpful in dealing with stress. A study published by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America  states that scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension.

Wellness Director, Angie Reay said, “We offer a variety of group fitness classes, which can be a stress reliever. Some of these classes include yoga. Students can break away from stress with these classes and intramurals.”

MSU not only provides these fitness classes to all students, but the school also provides events such as Finals Frenzy.

“I take part in physical activity at least three days a week in order to stay both physically and mentally fit,” Donaldson said.

MSU also provides a counseling center for any students that need help dealing with stress or just need someone to talk to.

“I find the easiest way to combat stress as a college student is to face it head on and look out for a support system. Another thing I’ve found useful in dealing with stress is to just talk about it with someone you trust. The counseling center here on campus really helps,” Walker said.