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Center for Student Progress
College Monthly Guide
MONTHLY GUIDE TO STUDENT STRESSORS
Stress is a natural phenomenon, and all students will encounter stress during their college experience. Research indicates that many general student problems are seasonal. Although problems may occur at any time, some student problems are more prevalent at certain times of the academic year because of various activities, schedules, and campus issues. The following stress periods are correlated to the academic calendar and will help prepare you to offer support should your student encounter any of these situations.
- The start of college marks a period of adjusting to a new environment and people.
- Value crisis: students are confronted with questions of conscience over value conflicts with race, sexual orientation, drugs and alcohol, morality, religion, and social expectations.
- Some students experience feelings of inadequacy and inferiority: disorientation, lack of social life, ignorance(many questions, no answers), loneliness, or homesickness (among residence hall students) for parents, friends, or a special person back home.
- Students may feel depressed because of perceived restrictive policies and regulations of the University.
- Roommate conflicts arise among residence hall students.
- Students make adjustments to study and sleep schedules.
November and December
- Students begin to realize that life at college is not as perfect as they had envisioned.
- Old problems seem to continue and new ones are added.
- Mid-term workload pressures may be followed by feelings of failure and loss of self-esteem.
- Grief may develop because of inadequate skills for finding a group or not being selected by one.
- Non-dating students may sense a loss of self-esteem because so much value is placed upon dating.
- Sexual conflicts and confusion result when confronted by different lifestyles and standards.
- Pressure to be sexually active may exist and add to feelings of being rejected, loneliness, and guilt.
- Mid-term exams are completed and some major assignments are due.
January and February
- Academic pressure begins to mount.
- Final examinations are approaching and papers are due.
- Depression and anxiety increase because of feelings that one should have adjusted to the college environment by now.
- Financial problems may arise when funds from family and summer savings are depleted and holiday expenses are upcoming.
- Co-curricular time strain: seasonal parties, concerts, social service projects, and other student activities can drain a student's energies.
- Pre-holiday depression begins, especially for those who have concerns for their family.
- Students may experience post-semester break blues: re-adjustment time after having several weeks away from the rigors of class work, depression from being away from home for residence hall students.
- Some students realize it might be a last chance if grades were disappointing during fall semester.
- A sense of urgency to decide on a major or career options may be experienced by some students.
- Students who have not made social connections with other students experience self-doubt and depression.
- Couples often experience transitions in relationships, either strengthening or weakening.
- Financial strain is felt for those planning trips during spring break.
- Social calendar is non-active.
- Academic pressure increases near mid-term.
- Residence hall students must decide where and with whom they will live next year.
- Drug and alcohol use increases.
- Depression begins due to anticipation of separation from friends and loved ones at college.
- Papers and exams pile up.
- Some students may give serious consideration to transferring colleges.
- Fall semester registration decisions loom.
- Improved weather signals the end of the year is in a few weeks and students become restless.
- Student organizations are recruiting for leadership positions.
- Summer job pressures intensify.
- Social pressure can mount.
- Year-end picnics, dinners, social outings seem to multiply.
- Time is running out to complete academic assignments.
**Information from YSUs "Family & Friends 2004-2005 Orientation Handbook" page 34.
- Anxiety develops because of the realization that the academic year is ending and that a deficiency may exist in a number of academic areas.
- Depression (especially for residence hall students) starts over leaving friends and facing conflicts at home with family.
- Warm weather is a distraction from studies.
- While it is a relief to reach the end of the academic year, students ask themselves, "Was this year everything I wanted it to be?"
Center for Student Progress • Kilcawley West • Phone: 330.941.3538 • Fax: 330.941.1455
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