College-induced stress can be detrimental to health


Edwin J. Viera, Columnist

College as well as life itself can be stressful and cause many people to feel as though the weight of the world is on their shoulders. For some the stress cannot be contained and makes its way into the world as sadness, anger and often times depression. Though there isn’t a large amount of literature that can relate to this there is one novel in particular: Ned Vizzini’s, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”.

This book is about a teenager who tries hard to get into a specialized high school for highly intelligent students. Once he gets in however, he can’t handle the pressure of having to keep up with all of the other students. Over time he begins to consider killing himself and finally decides to check himself into the psychiatric ward of his local hospital.

Vizzini’s book is based on the time that he actually spent in a psychiatric ward, and later on in life he killed himself by jumping off of the roof of the roof of a building. Knowing someone that has gone through this type of stress is hard especially when they are very dear to you.

In my life, I know two people that have been sent to the psychiatric ward for the amount of stress in their lives building up and going awry. Both people tried killing themselves but didn’t. Stress is a silent killer, especially among students because of the large workloads we are saddled with; though it goes beyond that.

For some, college is more than just the start of another round of schooling; in fact, it’s the beginning of the rest of your life. Looking for a job is difficult, and coupled with the responsibility of the classes it can seem as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

According to a survey done from 2011 to 2012 by the American Psychological Association, “anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students at 41.6 percent, followed by depression 36.4 percent and relationship problems 35.8 percent.”

These levels are alarmingly high because some studies have shown that anxiety levels like these are on par with 1950’s mental patients. Psychology Today printed an article about this and wrote about how one contributing factor is sleep deprivation, something college students are known for.

“Sleep deprivation is legendary in college life, and many wear it almost as a badge of honor. Yet, with college students averaging just over 6 hours of sleep and the serious problems associated with sleep deprivation clearly documented, the poor sleep patterns are not to be taken lightly and are likely significantly associated with mental health problems in other domains.”

Other factors to stress can be the large decisions weighting our shoulders down and making us into Atlas, except we each carry our own lives on our shoulders though it is equal to the weight of the world. For the rising seniors, it is about housing on campus. Though some have settled on Collegiate Village, Monarch 716 and Campus Walk, others are still scrambling to make sure that they can live somewhere in the Buffalo area to reach graduation.

Another major decision can be the struggle of maintaining a personal life while also trying to continue getting great grades. Though it seems impossible at first this is something that people can often times just figure out how to manage. Finally comes another piece of stress in college: personal relationships.

Many people tell stories of how they met their husband or wife in college, but then there are all of the people that didn’t end up being Mister/Misses Right. These relationships can take a toll on some people because sometimes, it is easier to forget a person than it is to forgive them.

The multiple stresses of everyday college life are slowly killing us, and sometimes when we don’t realize it. In the end though, we sit on our hands and hold to this pattern. Though it seems unfair, it is often for the sake of a career that people put themselves in situations where their classes, assignments and unusual sleep schedule come way before their potential declining mental health.

Mental health is important too. This is something that many students have forgotten in their pursuit of their degrees. Yet when depression begins to creep up on you, you might look back and think to close the books and sleep for eight hours.

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