Stressed for success

When most people think of college, they think of a relaxed, carefree four years. But for some students, a college career can also be very stressful. School, financial aid, relationships are just a few factors that contribute to students being stressed. Zachary A. James, 20, a sophomore electrical engineering student from Turnersville, N.J., describes his stress level as moderate, but said it tends to fluctuate. He said that since it is the beginning of the semester, he’s not too stressed out but, taking 17 credits, he anticipates more anxiety as the semester progresses. James deals with his stress by doing activities he enjoys.”I exercise,” he said. “It increases my circulation and since I’ve used all my energy up, it makes it easier for me to sleep.”Terrell Freeman, the coordinator for student affairs at the Florida A&M University Center for Human Development, said that exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress.However, James said that stress has affected his health in the past.”It increased my blood pressure,” he said. “I just try to run daily and take vitamins.”Freeman said that stress could lead to feelings of non-productivity, immobility.”If you are overpowered, you feel helpless in that you reach out for a solution, but there isn’t one there,” he said.For college freshmen, the transition from high school to college can be extremely stressful. However, for April Plummer, 18, an architecture student from Dallas, stress in college is not as high as it was in high school.”In high school I was involved in everything,” she said. “Now that I’m in college I’m not athletic like I was, I’m not involved in any organizations.I’m just not involved in as much.” Plummer, too, said stress had affected her health. “I was getting sick a lot,” she said. “It was easier for me to catch colds, I got bad headaches and I was always tired. I didn’t get good sleep.” Plummer has learned ways to avoid stress before it literally makes her sick. “I try to get to bed at a decent hour and get everything done by 10 or 11 o’clock p.m.” LaTasha Johnson, 18, a freshman computer-engineering student fromPensacola has also experienced very high stress levels in the past. She said she is experiencing more stress now because she is on her own. “You have to deal with more yourself instead of relying on your parents,” she said. Freeman said that another stress factor is that some students may be dealing with more stress than they are aware of. “People deny a whole lot that is operating in their lives,” he said.”They try to avoid and fail to accept it until it gets to the point of detrimental.