Stressed Out? How College Students Manage Daily Demands


Kalila Bell | Lifestyle Staffer |

The alarm beeps at 8:40 a.m. On to the first class, as the bus nearly zooms past the class stop. Rush out of the 9:40 a.m. class straight to the 10:35 a.m. meeting. No break still, as the tour guide shirt is thrown on at 11 a.m., running from Tupper Hall to Baker Center. After work, 2 p.m. strikes and there are more classes to attend. Now that classes and work are over it is time for extracurriculars at 6 p.m. Not to mention this is only Monday. This is what a regular day looks like for bobcat Morgan Matthews, a senior studying business management and marketing.

She is not alone. According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, nearly 85 percent of students feel overwhelmed by everything they had to do. But where does such a common feeling come from and what are its stressors?

“I’ve never had trouble learning or retaining material, my biggest stressors are always test and group work,” said senior Alex Bailey, a communications studies major.

Adjusting from the school expectations of k-12 standard, can be hard on incoming first-years. The first year alone can overwhelm students. Without a proper foundation to balance classwork, students can get trapped — feeling left behind, with nowhere to go.

Regardless of year or field of study, Ohio University students learn to manage the stress that comes from academics, relationships, and other responsibilities in ways that work for them individually. Image via Florian Simeth, Flickr.

While the average course load is known to throw even the most equipped student into the point of no return, it is the additional workload outside of academics that apply the pressure.

“Being an RA is one of the most difficult jobs jobs I’ve ever had,” said Bailey, “It’s harder to find personal time when it’s your job to take care of people.”

About 70 percent, or 14 million, college students work while continuing their higher education, found a 2015 Georgetown University study. Here at Ohio University, any full time student cannot work more than a maximum of 25 hours, an increase from 20 within the past school year. While this did bring some financial relief for some students, it added on to the stress level of others.

“One thing that stresses me out now is trying to find a work and life balance between my academics, social life, post-grad job search, and extracurricular activities,” said Matthews, who is currently working three university jobs: as a tour guide, learning community leader, and front desk assistant at the College of Business.

The senior bobcats are not alone with the heavy course load. Junior Nikiiyah Gest, studying early childhood education, balances her schoolwork while also being a member of a sorority, transfer ambassador, and unified sister’s member, just to name a few.

While the numerous duties of college may not be going anywhere soon, the health risk associated with college are increasing. The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found an increase in anxiety concerns among college students: a jump from 37 percent to 46 percent in 2009 to 2013 alone. With work, school and extracurriculars, maintaining a healthy balance is key to keep up with college life.

“The biggest way I help myself now is by taking time for self-care, big or small,” said Bailey, “I went to counseling at Hudson and that helped, I learned de-stressing tips and I still use today.”

Stress and college go hand-and-hand, but that doesn’t mean it should take a hold of your mental and physical health. It is something Matthew’s wish she had known earlier in her time here.

“I wish I knew was that it is okay to take personal days sometimes. If you feel like you’re overwhelmed with something, miss that club meeting and sleep, take a nap, do whatever you have to do to get your mental/emotional health back on track,” she said.

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