Students often report feeling stressed while at college. But the rate of stress is about 40 percent higher in the fall, Monique Brown Potter, a health educator at the student health center, said.
“Fall semester is a stressful time for students who have to deal with registration and living on their own for the first time,” she said.
Potter sees students after they have had some of the physical symptoms of stress. Some of these symptoms include chest pain, chest tightness and anxiety. Potter said she talks about what has been bothering the students, such as being away from home, problems with their boyfriend or girlfriend, and financial issues.
To help overcome the stress, Potter sometimes sends students to the fitness center to set up an exercise routine.
“Exercise works off pent-up anxiety,” she said.
She also suggests that eating from the four food groups instead of fast food and candy bars is essential for a healthful lifestyle.
“Fruit is the best thing to eat as a snack late at night,” Potter said.In addition, she advises that adults should get at least eight hours of sleep in order to be fully rested. Another suggestion is that students should pace themselves in the number of classes they take.
“Set realistic expectations for yourself within reason,” Potter said, adding thatfreshman should take 12 to 14 credit hours their first couple of semesters.
Juliaette Horne, 50, a sophomore social work student from Gretna, works full time at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and takes nine hours of classes a week. She said it gets hard to manage time for schoolwork during the week.
“You have to still be able to take time out for yourself,” Horne said.Another approach to stress relief is massage. Lou Farrah, owner of Pathway Wellness Center Inc., said massage is usually looked upon as a last resort.
“People don’t realize how massage benefits them. It gives them a chance to spend more than an hour with a therapist, telling them what exactly is wrong,” Farrah said.
“Dealing with the problem hands-on is the key to help eliminate stress,” he added.
If the problem is more serious, such as depression, students are referred to the counseling center on campus, Potter said. There, they can talk to experts about personal issues. The service is free to all students. The student health center is located in the Foote-Hilyer Administration building.