Maintaining stress

By Ashley Goodman|

Flagler College student Gabrielle Hekhuis was enjoying her Sunday afternoon at the Lincolnville Farmer’s Market until she received a call from her roommate. Her cat, Milk Money, knocked over her fish bowl, drenching her laptop with water.

“My laptop is completely ruined. All my school work is gone and now I can’t do design jobs this summer,” Hekhuis said.

Accidents like this can cause college students great stress in their lives.
“I’ve been really stressed since this happened. It’s been tough catching up on homework and I’ve lost a little bit of weight,” Hekhuis said.

Financially, most students can’t afford to buy a new computer on their own, adding to the given stress of losing a semester’s worth of work and beyond. Glenn Goldberg, director of counseling services at Flagler College agrees that college students are more stressed than years prior.

“A lot of it seems related to financial or family concerns due to the negative effects of a difficult economy. This then adds to the increased challenge of balancing one’s work, school and social life,” Goldberg said.

The most common side effects of stress among college students that Holly Hagler, a registered nurse at Flagler College has observed is anxiousness, recurrent headaches and the inability to sleep. “Freshmen or seniors seem to be the most common with these symptoms,” Hagler said. “We usually recommend counseling and sometimes medication,” Hagler said.

The stress that many college students experience lead to other negative consequences.

In a recent survey, roughly 50% of students don’t finish college, and only 29% of adults have a bachelor’s degree.

Stress, financial problems and life circumstances are partly to blame.

Social stress is another factor, this is especially prevalent in freshmen, who are experiencing being away from home for the first time, making new friends, balancing school and work and finding a roommate are all newall new experiences for someone who’s fresh out of high school.

In a study conducted by Harvard University professor David Ropeik found that chronic stress can actually shrink your brain.

This was seen in several cortical areas. Stress impairs formation and long term memory recall. Stress is associated with clinical depression which decreases the ability to cope with stressful experiences.

Not only does research on stress-associated brain shrinkage suggest that it causes functional mental impairments, it appears to cause is the ability to deal with further stress.There are several things you can do to help yourself cope with college and everyday living.

Excercising 20 minutes a day, eating healthier, avoid caffeine, consume less sugars, reduce alcohol consumption and get at least 7 hours of sleep. These tips should help keep stress in your everyday life to a minimum.

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