College Students: Most Stressed Generation?

Ryleigh Stearns

Interdisciplinary Studies Major

Applied Project (rough draft)

Dont’ get me wrong, I love being a college student. There are so many valuable experiences and relationships that are made. I would not change it for anything. College is very different for people. Some will say that college is not for them, and some will say college gave some of the best years of their life. But something that all college students have in common is the amount of stress they endure each year.

When I was in high school, almost all of my teachers were giving extra assignments to get to “ready for college”. In reality, those extra assignments did nothing in preparation for my college experience. As a senior, I can say that I have had some of the best and worst times during my 4 years at school. Stress does not only come from the amount of work you have, but it comes from many outside experiences as well. College is a big step. Young students are placed into an environment they are not used to, without the guidance of their parents or friends from home. They have to learn to cook for themselves, eat healthy, make new friends, manage their time affectively, clean up after themselves, and ultimately, make the right choices. Students are faced with tremendous amounts of peer pressure, especially in their first year. Many will conform to peer pressure in the hopes of fitting in with their friend groups.

All of these things I mentioned previously, have much to do with the high amount of stress students are currently having. Around the end of the semester, during finals, students are spending countless hours at home or the library doing work to attempt to meet deadlines their professors have set. I thought that this would be the perfect time to ask the students themselves all about their stress in college and university. I created a survey for any person attending college weather it be for associates, bachelors or masters. I wanted to explore stress levels and coping mechanisms of students of all years and get a better idea of what college students are actually experiencing.

The survey consisted of these 8 questions:

  1. What is your current year attending university/college?
  2. On a scale of 1-10, with one being not stressed at all and 10 being the most stressed you’ve ever been, how stressed do you feel daily during the school year?

  3. What causes stress in your life? Select all that apply.
  4. How do you deal with stress? Select all that apply.
  5. Do you agree that stress has had a negative impact on your physical and/or mental health?
  6. Do you often feel like you have to choose between having a social life and school work?
  7. Do you believe there are enough resources on campus to help you when you are stressed?
  8. Do you believe you would benefit greatly if your school offered more resources for stressed students?

Once the survey is completed, I will upload graphs and results as well as analyze the information.

The Quest to Find Resources…

Changing my research topic last minute may have thrown me for a loop. For a good research article I want to incorporate many resources from many different disciplines. Luckily for me, the resources that I did find were very diverse. The problem that I ran into was that there weren’t many journal articles that fit exactly what I was looking for. Finding peer reviewed, full text articles on how being outdoors lowers stress levels much harder than it may seem. I ended up finding more when I changed key words when searching and looking into all age groups instead of just college aged students. Keep in mind that these sources are still ongoing and are subject to change based on the continuation of my research article. Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 1.06.17 PM

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