It’s that time of the semester again – when students are tearing their hair out and ingesting more caffeine than thought naturally possible. Midterms are upon us, and students are working to beat the stress.
According to the 2012 National College Health Assessment survey, more than half of college students reported above average or tremendous stress levels. The survey further stated that 30 percent of students said it had a negative impact on their academic performance. When it comes to managing stress and anxiety during midterms, organization and mental breaks between studying can help alleviate stress.
“When it comes to stress, I’m not very good at organizing or handling it,” Yasmin Chowdhury, psychology major said. “When I get really overwhelmed, I take a couple hours off my school work. I have a cycle for study breaks. I’ll study for 45 minutes and take a 15 minute break so that I have adequate room to breathe and make sure the information is processed in my head.”
Time management is a beneficial alternative to helping students deal with stress. However, every student handles their anxieties differently.
“The way I deal with stress is kind of complicated,” Valerie Suarez, business management major said. “Sometimes I don’t handle it well so I feel better when I cry. I’ll watch TV to take stress off my mind or talk to a friend, but going out to eat makes me really happy.”
Stress can be good for students to a certain extent. It can be motivational, while keeping the student alert and more willing to reach deadlines. However, too much stress can lead to depression. Therefore, it is important for students to know that there are many different coping strategies available to them while under stress.
The best coping strategies are those that will not affect one’s health negatively. Some destructive coping strategies include smoking, heavy drinking or the overuse of prescription drugs.
“I was prescribed Xanax to help with anxiety,” Suarez said. “I only take my Xanax if I feel like there is no other path to take. If nothing else helps me, it’s my last resort.”
Ultimately, stress, whether it is chronic or acute can lead to major depression, but only in those most susceptible to it. It is important for students to acknowledge healthier alternatives available, most which are free of cost, such as organization.
“I have to be completely organized. Organization is key for me. If my stuff is scattered that’s when I see that stress becomes a factor in the things I do,” public health major Erica Abaekobe said. “I have to take breaks, and do anything not related to my assignment like check social media, or exercise.”
Aside from organization and deep breathing, other techniques can include basic remedies such as yoga, or even drinking a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile tea serves as a gentle relaxant while acting as a nerve tonic as well as a sleeping aid.
Other remedies include yoga, or even the one-moment meditation video, which is available on YouTube. The five-minute animated video by Martin Boroson, based off his book “One-Moment Mediation,” shows a simple strategy in reducing stress, improving focus and finding peace in the moment.
Academic excellence is strived for by students, but one must remember simply that health is wealth. By acknowledge stress and dealing with it accordingly students can avoid health related expense.
Next time, instead of getting your fourth cup of coffee, perhaps indulge in a little retail therapy. Purchasing items such as clothes or shoes can help one feel a little bit better about life, even during midterms.
No matter the academic hell, students have to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: the semester is halfway through.