Stress can be found everywhere; a student worrying about an upcoming exam, a shopkeeper that is in constant fear of bankruptcy. Sincero (2012) stated “Stress is the physical, mental and emotional human response to a particular stimulus, otherwise known as ‘stressor’.” Opposed to the belief that stress carries a negative connotation, it is important to our success and health. There are two types of stress, eustress and distress. The former being a positive form of stress that propels an individual to greater heights and success.
It gives the extra push needed to reach personal goals. Whilst the latter is damaging and has adverse side-effects. Distress hinders people from performing at optimum levels and in the long run, has devastating effects on their physical and mental health. (Ireh, 1994, p. 234). College students likewise, are not spared from the effects of stress. According to a 2008 mental health study by Associated Press and mtvU, “eight out of ten college students claims that they have experienced some form of stress in their everyday lives over the past three months.
” (as cited in Marksbery, 2017). Stressors related to academic, environment and personal factors. This essay will seek to demonstrate how aforementioned “stressors” can have an effect on their academic success and the different approaches to managing stress. Academic-related stressors, where student feels overwhelmed by, such as increased class workload (Reisberg, 2000). is one of the major factors which affects students academically.
Workload related stress can inevitably lead to the issue of fearing to fail. Schafer (1996) describes the fear of failing as: “… perfectly natural and can help motivate you to prepare and perform well. Sometimes, however, fear of failure becomes so extreme that it creates unnecessary emotional and physical distress.” Although the added workload might seem intimidating, proper measures can be put in place to assist students thus not having to feel overwhelmed and keeping up with curriculum.
An example of helping students cope with such stressors, Holman (2010) suggested that they should develop a consistent study plan. For instance; allocating certain weeks to specific subjects. If there were no exams in those subjects, the allocated time could be used to catch up on reading or reviewing of lecture notes.
Keeping in mind that, said study plans should account for changes and a revision of it, on a weekly basis, to track that students are using their time wisely. The transition to a university can be a daunting experience for many students, especially for the first years. “Individuals often move away from home for the first time during this period and are cut off from family and friends who have provided significant social support in their lives” (Pancer, Hunsberger, Pratt, & Alisat, 2000). With the lack of support and being in a new environment, students must learn to adjust to their new social environment whilst keeping up their academic performance. (Ross, Neibling & Heckert, 1999). During these periods, students go through a lot of stress due to the need to change and adjust, which can lead to higher levels of homesickness following the transition.
As a result, affecting the student negatively, making it hard for them to study or cope with academic life. (Fisher, 1994). Although homesickness slowly fades as time passes, some students might experience it for the entirety of their stay in the university. To help students through the adjustment period, Grobbelaar and Rudman (2017) suggested that making new friends through social gathering held by the student body and joining a society, study or sports group is important in preventing aloneness and homesickness as it gives you a sense of belonging within the university.
Inflation is everywhere, with the cost of living on the rise, it is no surprise that college students are taking up part-time jobs to help them cope. Which leads to the third and final factor of the essay; financial issue. According to a report written by Neale, Pigott, Hansom and Fagance (2017), a survey conducted showed that two out of five students feels stressed when it came to managing their money at universities. This was more likely to occur amongst students from lower income family and female students. The effects of working late nights can lead to no time to study and can have negative results on their academic performance. “More time spent at work can encroach on time otherwise available for studying” (Trockel, Barnes & Egget, 2000).
Although working and studying may cause students’ stress and have adverse effects on their academic performance. On the contrary, The Student Living Report (2004) found that working part-time did not have detrimental affects on their studies. In fact, Caldwell (2017) found that students holding a part time job do better in school as they need to learn how to manage their time properly, planning out the week to make time to study. There are a number of ways used to cope with stress. One of which is social support.
Although stress can take many forms, as shown in this essay, not all of it is bad. With the right amount of push, it can propel us to achieve greater heights, and too much can have adverse and damaging effects. Be it coping with the extra workload, making the transition or juggling a part-time job proper measures can help cope with the stress that comes with.