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Stress Among MU Students

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–Its seems that in today’s world, college and stress go hand in hand. You cannot possibly have one without the other (and if somehow you are a college student without stress, please share that key to success).
Take a stroll through the campus and count how many smiling faces you see. Walk into one of the academic buildings and take note of all the hunched-over backs buried in books and laptops. Then, let the weekend roll around and tally up the faces you see at parties and bars throwing down shots, smoking cigarettes, or getting lost in the music. The numbers will probably match up.
The stress college students have and work through on the daily is displayed on the faces you encounter throughout the week. Whether it is John Doe who seems to never leave Edison Hall, or Jane Doe who always seems to be in a hurry with a coffee cup in one hand and a study guide in the other, the evidence is right in front of you.
Sources of stress vary from person to person. However, across the nation in different academic institutions, most of the stressors are quite the same. In her article “Sources of Stress and Coping in American College Students Who Have Been Diagnosed With Depression,” Pamela Aselton, the director of the St. Joseph’s College graduate nursing program, found that the most common stressors are academic difficulties, roommate problems, career and financial issues/concerns, and pressure from family and friends.
All this stress is linked to the increasing depression rates among college students. The American College Health Association reports that 16 percent of all college students will suffer from depression at some point during their college careers. The ACHA has also pinpointed stress as the main cause of academic difficulties, which in turn is one of the most common stressors.

Photo courtesy of University of Florida
Photo courtesy of University of Florida

Being a junior at Monmouth, Gabriella Gerber has had her fair share of stress.
“It just seems like we can’t catch a break,” Gerber said. “If not all, then the majority of us are stressed. There is so much to do and deal with at once. Exams and papers all fall on the same week.”
“Although it seems professors try to space it out, all the classes end up having big assignments due at the same time,” she continued. “I guess the bright side would be that it does help better prepare you for the real world. Because sometimes life will throw a bunch of things at you, and they all have to get done.”
Nicole Martinez is alumna of Monmouth and a longstanding Educational Opportunity Fund counselor. In this latter role, she interacts daily with students of all grade levels, primarily freshmen.
“I find that there’s a lot of anxiety, especially during midterm and finals time,” she said. “I do think that the reasoning behind it is that it seems to be a lot of classes have course work due at the same time. And especially in regards to the first year students, midterms hit hard.”
“This seems to be due to the fact that they’re not accustomed to the scheduling,” she continued. “College becomes sort of a culture shock. Stress and anxiety go together, it’s like a marriage. The first year students don’t think they’re supposed feel this stressed because in high school they weren’t. However in terms in it could be avoided, the answer is yes and no. No, because stress is going to come with college life and academics. But yes, because I don’t believe students spend enough time studying for their courses.”
Stress is something that we seem to not be able to avoid as college students. Since it is a part of our daily lives, we need to find safe and healthy methods to cope with it. In her research, Aselton also found that the most common coping mechanisms were “exercise, talking to friends, self- talk, deep breathing, journaling, marijuana use, and listening to music were common coping mechanisms.”
Photo courtesy of About
Photo courtesy of About

Akintunde Obafemi, another junior at Monmouth, copes with stress in his own way.
“Well, first I sleep to lower my anxiety,” he said. “When I wake up I then make a plan as to how I’m going to rid myself of the stress. That usually entitles tending to the smaller stressors to rid myself of them. Once that’s done, I tackle the bigger ones, but in smaller portions, rather than all at once.”
Monmouth University addresses the topic of student stress in various ways. For example, the Department of Student Services, along with the Student Activities Board, plan and carry out various activities throughout the week. These activities include workshops, concerts, shows, trips, movies and even de-stress fests when exam times roll around. However, the question is, are these programs and events enough? Are they efficient in accomplishing their main goal–to help students de-stress?
Rosemary Feliz, a senior at Monmouth, has a unique perspective on this.
“I do think it’s enough, but I don’t think it gets the job done,” she said. “Like, the de-stress fest helps out, but the other events are just events people go to even if they aren’t stressed. Those weekend activities are cool and all, but I feel as though if you’re stressed then you’ll cope with it your own way.”
Stress will find its way into our lives one way or another. How you let it affect you and how you deal with it are up to you. It is best to find your own way of dealing with stress, whether that is avoiding it from the start with time management, or coping with it when it does hit. Take advantage of all the resources available. Attend the events on campus, sign up for tutoring, see a counselor and vent to them, but most importantly, take care of yourself. Eat healthy, stay active, and try to sleep at least six hours a night. Take a step back, breathe,and relax!
Stress and college are two peas in a pod, but with the right mindset, they are not impossible to separate.