The Stress of it All
For students, stress really adds up.
November 25, 2003 3:03 PM
Sleepless nights and coffee-filled mornings are what students like Sonia Beauchamp go through with the arrival of finals.
Beauchamp, 25, has to wake up early, commute to school, work late shifts and all the while juggle her academic responsibilities. Returning home from a late night at work, she can barely stay awake as her tired body struggles to study; ultimately she must rely on numerous cups of coffee to make it through the night.
Beauchamp is not alone. Numerous students on campus have full-time jobs and responsibilities outside of school that they are accountable for. The constant balancing act between school and outside responsibilities comes to a climax with the onslaught of test and deadlines.
As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, a 1999 survey of 683 colleges conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles reported 30.02 percent of the students surveyed "feeling frequently overwhelmed."
The report continued by saying the number of working students had increased in the last decade leading to greater stress amongst college students.
For many, school is stressful enough with the constant readings and deadlines set by instructors. For many students, it becomes an even greater challenge to fit such an incredible workload into their already booked lives.
"I have two tests next week, but I have no idea when I'm gonna find the time because I work 30 hours a week," said Beauchamp.
In addition to time management, students may feel added pressure with the financial burdens that come along with attending college. Many students must independently pay for their own tuition, transportation and living expenses while in school.
"Maybe if my parents would pay for my school and car, then I would just chill and study for my classes," said Craig Milakali, 21, an SF State student.
"All I do is stress about school and work 'cause I have to pay for both, and on top of that study."
With so much in the balance it is a wonder that students find any time to sleep, and many only get the opportunity to sleep five hours a night, ending up restless and tired the next morning.
"When I sleep five hours, I swear it feels like I just closed and opened my eyes," said Alicia Sanchez, 21.
"In order for me to function, I need about eight hours to feel rested.”
Waking up to the cold weather and misty fog that often surrounds SF State can be even harder when a student has only slept five hours. It is a routine for many to go to school, work and then come home to study past midnight.
"I get home from work at 10 p.m. and start my homework, and finish at about two in the morning," said Gina Shafiei, 22, BECA major.
“The routine of sleeping five hours feels likes it’s killing me."
As the days become cloudier and stress fills the air, students can find comfort in knowing there are various forms of relief found on campus. A variety of stress- relieving techniques are offered in the Student Health Services Center. These methods not only help students vent their frustrations but also help them learn how to manage stress.
"Students need to learn how to relax and prioritize what they need to do each day to lower their stress levels," said Eva Wise, head of the Meditation Clinic on campus.
"Stress can take a toll on the body and make the person feel weak, but meditation can regain that control of balance and focus."
One of the newest stress-relieving techniques being offered at the Student Health Center is reiki. Reiki is a natural relaxation technique that balances the body’s energy through the use of healing touch.
Another form of stress relief can be found at the meditation clinic. Here, students learn ways to clear their minds in an attempt to regain balance and focus.
"All I can say is that when I'm stressed, I feel like all the doors of opportunity are closed and I constantly feel nervous and shaky," said Maria Ramirez, 24, liberal arts major.
"Meditating honestly feels like I can slow down time and reorganize my thoughts kind of like a calendar."
As more students begin to familiarize themselves with the various ways they can de-stress on campus, calmer days may be just around the corner.
"Stress just sucks when I'm studying for midterms,” said Elvira Viveros, 26, journalism major. “But if I can learn how to calm down and balance my activities I will be a happy camper."
» SF State Meditation Clinic
» SF State Stress Management Clinic The stress management clinic offers one-on-one consultations, group "calming hours," and workshops.
» Reiki This page, sponsored by the SF State Student Health Services, explains the relaxing techniques of Reiki.
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