HOW MC STUDENTS COPE WITH THE STRESS OF COLLEGE
By Michevi Dufflart & Alyssa Velazquez, Contributor & Editor
Wake up, eat, attend class, study, participate in clubs and/or athletics, possibly go to the gym, socialize and sleep. This paints the image of the ideal student that many at Manhattan College aspire to become.
After reality sets in though, it is evident that students cannot meet these expectations without experiencing some stress along the way. However that does not mean that some students are not up for the challenge. Mike Martello, a civil engineering major, is one example of a student who does their best to fulfill these expectations.
Serving as the governance lead of the Manhattan College chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers, an athlete on the track team up until last semester, the structural analysis and hull design lead of the annual Concrete Canoe project, the civil engineering liaison and tutor for Tau Beta Pi and a resident assistant; it is clear that Martello has a busy schedule.
In addition to actively participating in all of these extracurriculars Martello also manages his academics and dedicates time to being with others.
“I make it a point to have coffee with my roommate every morning, and then I would have lunch with a friend usually… and typically get dinner with one of my friends,” Martello said.
Despite the need to sometimes plan out his busy days by the hour, Martello stresses the importance of socialization and how it plays a major role in being a college student. “Some days if I don’t feel like doing work, I hang out, talk to people, because at the end of the day you can only do so much work before you get sick of it and you’ve got to talk to somebody,” he said.
Many students can relate to Martello because after all, it is college. There is usually a desire from students to be involved in the community through academics, extracurriculars and socialization.
Such heavy involvement can lead to stress as the day comes to an end, which is why Martello also emphasizes the importance of sleep for college students. “One of the things that really helps me with my schedule is not procrastinating going to bed,” he said.
For Martello, sleep is one of the most crucial factors in being able to get through the busiest of his days. Sleeping for the suggested amount of hours can help in completing tasks for the next day and also reduce the amount of stress a student may experience.
Though Martello is able to manage the stresses of his academics and extracurriculars, there are students who will find difficulty in balancing all of these tasks and obligations while still maintaining the social life of a college student.
Nuwan Jayawickreme, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology, said that, “some students are able to bear the load, while some students struggle with it…there are a certain portion of students who are at risk for anxiety and depression and I think for those kids who have that kind of vulnerability, some additional stress can increase those symptoms.”
However, students who experience high levels of stress and are susceptible to symptoms of anxiety and depression should not feel discouraged from becoming the ideal student.
“If you want to do something, do it. Push yourself… push the boundaries,” Jayawickreme said.
He also advises students to seek support when needed and urges them to be aware that that there are people available to speak with struggling students such as guidance counselors, professors and even peers.
Jayawickreme emphasizes the importance of “spreading the message that seeking out help is not a bad thing and that enough successful people do it.”
In today’s society, successful people are often displayed through the media as faultless figures. At times it can be difficult to realize that they are human too. However, they do in fact have stress just like everyone else and as a result may seek help through different services such as counseling.
Jennifer McArdle, director of counseling and health services, recognizes the idea of stress being placed on students, writing in an email that “if people overdo anything, there can be pressure. Trying to keep things balanced is important for a student’s emotional health.”
With the support provided from faculty, staff and fellow peers, Manhattan College provides an environment where students can challenge themselves. And Jayawickreme advises students to take advantage of the opportunity that college provides them.
“What I would say to students in general is push yourselves, college is a time to do that, but also know yourself and seek out help when you feel as though something is getting in the way of you being able to be successful or you being happy,” Jayawickreme said.