Semester’s end stresses students

Can’t sleep? Check. Back-aches? Check. Sure you’ll fail that chemistry final? Check. Diagnosis: Stress.

Finals week means an overwhelming amount of stress to many students, and yet statistics prove no one’s alone late at night, worrying about the end of the semester.

Cynthia Fuller, a counselor with University Counseling and Consulting Services, said many students who come in to the counseling center asking for help realize they have been struggling all semester.

where to go

From stressed!!… to de-stressed
What: A workshop hosted by University Counseling and Consulting Services
When: 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 4
Where: 202 Eddy Hall For more information, and to register call (612)-624-3323

Stress manifests itself in people’s bodies, Fuller said. It takes a toll in terms of muscle tension, sleep problems and eating habits.

Graduate instructor Michelle Trotter said when stress interferes with a person’s functioning on an ongoing basis he or she might want to get help to address the stress.

Trotter is leading an hour-long stress workshop Tuesday, sponsored by UCCS in Eddy Hall. Participants of the workshop must first register.

Stress-reduction strategies and relaxation exercises will be conducted during the workshop.

Kartik Subramanian, president of the Art of Living Club, said stress has a lot of influence on how the body reacts and one’s mental state.

The Art of Living Club also conducts workshops to reduce stress through mediation and other breathing techniques.

“The workshops are really beneficial for our academic daily pressures and the stresses we face every day,” Subramanian said.

Psychology senior Cristina Rios said she has dealt with depression and anxiety most of her life.

Academic competition in college is a major issue for students, Rios said.

“For me, high school was really easy and I was one of the smart people,” she said. “I got to college and I felt like an idiot because there’re so many more really intellectual people.”

Academics are probably the biggest stressor in college students lives, Rios said.

Though it might seem obvious that academics would top the list of stressors, a 2007 Boynton Health Survey suggests otherwise.

According to the data, a roommate or housemate conflict is the No. 1 stressor for 22 percent of University students.

Other major stressors include the termination of a personal relationship, excessive debt other than credit card, serious physical illness or death of someone close.

However, academics play a role in students’ concerns, too.

According to the survey, nearly 8 percent of students reported being most stressed about failing a class, and academic probation topped the list for 5 percent of students.

The Boynton survey suggests a correlation between stressors and tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use.

Ronda Chakolis, pharmacy junior and co-chairwoman of the Interdisciplinary Health PEERS – which stands for professionalism, prevention, education, ethics, resources and support – said the center works to provide resources for students who feel as though they have to turn to substances when stressed.

She said when students turn to substances, there’s often an underlying issue already at hand.

“I think sometimes college students are (portrayed in an) unfair light,” Chakolis said. “It’s automatically assumed we do (turn to substances) because there are finals going on.”

A great thing about the University, she said, is that there are resources available to students and people are able to talk about stress issues.

Rios said now that she’s graduating this month, she’s realized there were a lot of resources she didn’t know about earlier on.

“If you do need help, don’t be afraid to let somebody know that you’re having a hard time,” she said.