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Stress Report Paper

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed with all the things you do that it feels like there is not enough time within the day? If you answered yes, then you have experienced some kind of stress. Stress is your body’s response to events that makes you feel threatened about your life in some way. There are many things that cause stress for all ages and many people experience stress, but college students have the most amount of stress to deal with.
According to the dictionary stress is the importance, significance, or emphasis placed on something. According to Walker and her Teenagers in Distress Series people may experience stress when they become very busy, have deadlines to make, or do not have enough time to finish everything they wanted. People may stress about simple things like flying and animals, but many people experience stress from the fear of failing, being humiliated, or experiencing a death of a family member.
Stress centers around two important times for teenagers, when they are home or at school. “In a survey of sixty young people the primary sources of tension for teens were: relationships with friends and family, the pressure of expectations from self and others, pressure at school from teachers, coaches, grades and homework, financial pressures, and tragedy in the lives of family and friends.” (Walker, 7) More causes of stress for teenagers include breaking up with their significant other, arguments with parents, trouble with siblings, and trouble with classmates. Most teens respond to stress by relaxing, positive problem solving, or seeking friendship where they will gain support from others. Listening to music and being close to the people they care about are two examples of how teens cope with stress.
Most teenagers go through stress and move on, however some cannot and their stress starts to build. These teens are at a high risk of developing some sort of depression. Family history is another cause of stress for a teen. Some examples of this are history of depression or suicide in the family, alcoholism or drug use in the family, sexual or physical abuse, and family conflict (Walker 7). Personality traits can be a sign of trouble if the teen show: impulsive behaviors, aggressive and antisocial behaviors, withdrawal and isolation, and problems with sleeping and/or eating. Psychological and social events increase the amount of problems in a teen’s life. Some of these events are “death of a friend or family member, poor grades, unresolved conflicts with teachers, coaches, and peers, and unexpected events such as pregnancy or financial problems” (Walker 7).
College is considered to be the best time of teen’s life, but many people do not realize that is also a very stressful time. Finding friends at school can be a very hard time for college students. According to Hicks and Miller talking to classmates, joining organizations, and even going to parties can actually increase stress, whereas some people would thing that social interaction would decrease stress. When a college student does make friends, it is possible that these friends will affect how the student deals with their stress. Some so called “normal” things, such as staying up all night to study for an exam, can inflict stress on a person (Hicks and Miller). Not only can college be stressful throughout the year, but final exams make the stress increase dramatically. Students become stressed because they feel that if they do not do well on their exams they might not have good grades and could possibly lose scholarships or even get kicked out of school. Some students perform better under stress and like a stressful environment, but most students find it a difficult environment to work in (Hicks and Miller 3).
Managing time is one of the biggest stress factors for a college student. Classes and also the set up of these classes are a lot different compared to what a teenager is used to with high school. In college a student will usually only have classes for a couple hours a day and it is possible that some students do not have class all five days of the week. Since college students have class only a small part of the day most have a lot of spare time (College and Finance 9). The stressful part of all this is what to do with all the spare time. Some students play sports, have a significant other, work and even have kids. With all of these things teens need to find time for homework and at sometimes need to find a lot of time because of the amount of work that they have. Managing a student’s time and priorities is one of the biggest stressors for a student (College and Finance 9). Many students procrastinate and wait to the last day or even the last minute to do their homework, projects and papers. This builds up the amount of stress on a student because it gives a short time span to get such a large task completed.
Money and finances have a huge effect on college students and their levels of stress. Students have to pay for tuition, housing expenses, food, books, gas and money for leisure activities (College and Finance 9). Some kids are not fortunate enough to have parents that pay for these things and other expenses. Having to come up with money for these expenses can be a very stressful thing. Not having money for these expenses can build the stress levels when you add it with managing your. Some students work to be able to pay for all these things and it can make dealing with other tasks, such as homework more difficult.
Academics are another stressor that college students have to deal with. According to Individual Differences Research, the U.S. Consensus said that in 2001 over fifteen million Americans were enrolled in college. Since more and more people are entering college and the competition is increasing every year, many parents are putting pressure on their kids to perform well in school so they can receive well-paying jobs upon graduation of college. With college comes college work and it is a lot more difficult than high school. Some college kids even have grade point average requirements they must keep for things like scholarships, sports, and clubs (Government of South Australia 6). If you put all this together academics can be one of the biggest stressors a student can experience, so it is not surprising that many college students become stressed from their work (Government of South Australia 6).
Roommates also cause stress. In general, when a student goes to college they are forced to, on most occasions, room with someone (College and Finance 9). Sometimes the two students have nothing in common and live totally different lifestyles. This can be stressful, for example, if a messy person gets stuck with a clean freak. Another example of a roommate problem is when a drinker and partier get stuck with someone who does not do any of these (Locus of Control 4). Having to live on your own can be hard enough without living with someone that makes it almost impossible. They, most likely, will not get along because of their different ways of life.
Relationships are another stressor for students. Many relationships are started and ended at this time in life (Locus of Control 4). A couple can have to deal with not seeing each other enough or seeing each other to much. Trusting your partner can be very hard at times because they have a lot more opportunities then they use to in college. With the lack of trust and the amount of time a couple sees each other it is easily to understand how relationships can be stressful. Arguments are another stressful situation. Having to please your partner in a relationship can be very hard when having to deal with all the stressors someone has to deal with such as money, academics and managing time (College and Finance 9).
Stress and depression are closely related, and too much stress can cause depression. Sarah Meadows from the Journal of Youth and Adolescence says that, “depression is the illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts, that affects the way a person eats and sleep, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things.” According to Stress and Depression, a website explaining depression, says that some symptoms of depression that come from stress include crying spells, fatigue, sleep problems, imagined and actual pain, nightmares and panic attacks. Stress-induced depression reveals itself with decreased energy, appetite, a desire to sleep more than ten hours, crying, loss of interest in sex, and thoughts of suicide (Meadows and Brown 1). Stress can take the form of daily hassles, chronic strains and negative life events. All of these forms of stress are related to the stress a college student may experience (Stress and Depression 8). College related stress such as bad academic performance, pressure from parents and teachers about school work, and daily hassles, lead to depression (Meadows and Brown 1). Stress leads to a sense of helplessness and hopelessness which then can lead to depression. Exposure to stress and failure, which occurs a lot in the college atmosphere leads to depression.
Stress needs to be prevented, reduced, and treated in a timely manner. John Winterdyk says that stress can be reduced using four intervention strategies and he has performed an experiment with these. The strategies are exercise, nutrition, relaxation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Winterdyk did an experiment on which of these four techniques worked the best and found that nutrition and relaxation did the best, but that all four did decrease the amount of stress. Eating nutritious food makes your body better prepared for stress by keeping your energy up. Exercising allows a person to release their stress in a positive way. Relaxation allows a person to take a break from whatever is going on and just rest. Cognitive behavioral therapy allows the person to deal with stress through a goal oriented procedure. John Winterdyk‘s four strategies are not the only four that people suffer from.
Another kind of stress relief for college students is meditation. According to Doug Oman “meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.” Doug Oman performed a controlled trial to find if meditation works on reducing stress. He found that training college students in meditation program reduces their levels of stress. His findings are consistent with other studies, so meditation is said to be a reliable stress reducer (Doug Oman 5).
I have personally experienced stress and so have many of my friends. Since moving away from home I have realized that I feel a certain pressure to make time for my family and this stresses me out. Because I decided to live on campus I have a roommate and it has been stressful trying to accommodate my own needs and wants along with his. The workload at college is one of my biggest stressors. I am not use to the set up of the classes and only going to class a few hours each day. Managing my time is also very hard because I play a sport, have a full course load, a job, and a girlfriend. I have tried one stress relieving technique, and that is exercising, and it does seem to help me relieve my stress. With all these things going on I feel stressed a lot of the time, but I am only one example of a college student and stress.
Stress is present more in college students than any other age group. College students have to deal with many hardships while at school. These include time management, money, academics, relationships, and roommate problems just to name a few. Stress in college students is not recognized as much as it should be and this needs to change. If stress is not prevented or treated it can lead to depression, suicide and other problems. There is an abundance of ways to reduce stress including nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and meditation. With all these ways to deal with stress each college students should be able to find one that best suits them.

Word Count = 2311

Work Cited
Meadows, Sarah O., J. Scott Brown, and Glen H. Elder Jr. "Depressive Symptoms, Stress, and Support: Gendered Trajectories From Adolescence to Young Adulthood." Journal of Youth & Adolescence 35.1 (2006): 89-99. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 3 Nov. 2009.
Winterdyk, John, et al. "The Evaluation of Four Mind/Body Intervention Strategies to Reduce Perceived Stress among College Students." College Quarterly 11.1 (2008): 1. Education Research Complete. EBSCO. Web. 3 Nov. 2009.
Hicks, Terence, and Eboni Miller "College Life Styles, Life Stressors and Health Status: Differences along Gender Lines." Journal of College Admission 192 (2006): 22-29. ERIC. EBSCO. Web. 4 Nov. 2009.
"Locus of Control: Differences Among College Students' Stress Levels." Individual Differences Research 7.3 (2009): 182-187. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 4 Nov. 2009.
Oman, Doug, et al. "Meditation Lowers Stress and Supports Forgiveness Among College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of American College Health 56.5 (2008): 569-578. Education Research Complete. EBSCO. Web. 4 Nov. 2009.
Government of South Australia, Children and Youth Help, Young Adult Health Ages 18-25, Updated on July 9, 2009, Found on November 3, 2009.
University of Minnesota Extension, Teens in Distress Series, Adolescent Stress and Depression, Joyce Walker, Updated in 2002, Found on November 4, 2009
"Stress and Depression - The Role of Stress in Depression, The Impact on Academic Functioning and Educational Progress." Web.
“College and Finance, Top Five things that stress college students out.” Web

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