For many students, the amount of schoolwork remaining in the final two weeks of the fall semester may seem to form an insurmountable mountain that appears impossible to overcome. A direct result of this work piling up is stress.
“It’s a part of every college student’s life,” sophomore sport management major Mike Abate said.
Stress is a constant factor throughout the school year, but especially towards the end of each semester, when it becomes more difficult to focus on finals and easier to focus on the holiday break.
It is easy to simply succumb to stress, but for many, that is not a plausible option. Instead, students have found various methods to relieve their stress.
“With schoolwork, when I get stressed out, I just take a break, take a breather, and I’ll either watch TV or go talk to someone on the floor,” sophomore occupational therapy major McKenna Colman said.
Colman uses several other techniques as well, such as practicing breathing exercises. She has also found that yoga helps her clear her mind from her worries. Hot yoga in particular was very effective when she tried it.
“It’s just regular yoga, but you do it in a 105 degree room, so you just sweat all of your worries away,” Colman said.
For others, such as senior movement and sport studies major Kyle Greeley, physical activity is the answer to their troubles.
“I’ll go kick the soccer ball in the racquetball court or something just to get my mind off of everything,” Greeley said. “It helps to release all of that pent-up stress.”
Greeley also mentioned that his Tai Chi Chuan course has helped him this semester.
“It just helps center the mind and the body so that you can let things go [and] relax,” he said.
“I think a good one is listening to music,” Abate added. “When you’ve done your work [and] when you’re just relaxing in your room, listening to some good music always seems to do the trick.”
Many times, stress can be avoided altogether in the first place with careful planning and preparation, which has limited the stress in Abate’s life.
“I’m very organized. I think it’s important to make schedules and plan out what things you’re going to do today and what things you’re going to leave for tomorrow,” Abate said. “I think it’s important not to leave things to the last minute because then it just causes undue stress that you don’t need.”
Sometimes, however, even these methods and tips do not seem adequate to combat stress. That is where the Counseling Center, located in the Towne Student Health Center, comes into play.
Students who take a trip to the center are first greeted with a smile and greeting from Administrative Assistant Nancy Bosques-Levesque before being matched with a counselor for one-on-one attention.
Among those counselors are Elizabeth Donahue and Jennifer Laptew, who are accustomed to dealing with stress.
“Most things that people are coming in for are triggered by some sort of stress in their life,” Donahue said.
Laptew said that around 98 percent of students visit the center as a result of some sort of stress, whether it be with schoolwork, relationships, family or some other cause.
Donahue said that it is important for students to make time for themselves and continue taking care of themselves by not letting the basics – such as sleeping and eating well – fall by the wayside.
Laptew said that she often uses exercises with her students to help them focus on staying in the present.
“A lot of times it’s helpful to do mindfulness exercises with them where they’re really programmed to stay in the present moment,” Laptew said.
As Donahue said, sharing stress by talking to someone else about it, whether it be a family member, friend or counselor, can be very beneficial.
“When I am under a lot of stress, I try to take space from whatever is causing me stress and do things that make me feel good and remind me that there is more to me and my life than that stress at that moment,” Donahue said. “I also share my stress, so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.”
The Counseling Center will be open until Dec. 23 to offer their services to students.
Joe Brown may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org