You are a newly appointed counsellor at a University and you have been given the responsibility of providing a report on the stresses of being a student. Your answer, based on the content of the course, should include: a) The sources of student stress; b) The possible effects of student stress; c) Individual coping strategies; d) Possible institutional interventions that might make the student’s role a happy one! You should make reference to relevant literature. Course: BA (Honours) Psychology Module Title: Health Psychology Module Code: PSY383 Lecturer’s Name: Dr. Garry Prentice Date Assignment given out: 30th September 2010
Latest date for Submission: 26th November 2010 Student Name: Student Number: Introduction Within this essay I hope to report on the stress levels that students have to deal with. I will discuss the reasons why students find themselves under these levels of stress and what effects stress can have on a student both mentally and physically. I shall also discuss possible methods which would aid and assist a student who finds themselves under stress and possible ways to elevate the stress and assist the student in feeling more relaxed and dealing with any pressure they might find themselves having to deal with.
Main Body Stress is a physical response to events that can make a person feel threatened or even upset your balance in some way. When you perceive a threat to yourself, your body and nervous system responds to this threat by releasing stress hormones. Your heart begins to beat a lot faster, your blood pressure tends to rise and your muscles can at times even begin to tighten. Everybody will at some stage of their life experience stress of some level.
Time for College Students to Make a Budget Have you ever considered that your financial circumstance is changing as you grow up? Has it ever occurred to you that you should be responsible for your allowance and spend it wisely? Has it ever dawned on you that you can make a budget to live a sensible life instead of squandering your money foolishly? At present, a substantial number of college ...
You might feel under pressure, worried, upset, tense or a general feeling of just being uncomfortable with life at any particular moment. As a student there are numerous reasons why one would feel under a lot of stress. Pressure of exams is usually a major factor of stress for a student but also there are factors such as being bullied, maybe a poor relationship with certain lecturer’s or even academic work piling up to such an extent the student feels that they simply cannot deal with the pressure.
Financial worries can also be a factor of stress for a student. For example, a student who has just commenced a course in University, not alone is the thought of the excess levels of study and making academic deadlines a source of stress but also when you include on top of these issues the possibility of paying for fees which could very well amount to a few thousand euro a student has then an enormous amount of stress placed upon them straight away.
Stress can have quite serious effects on a student who feels they are losing control of any particular situation or if they feel that things have gone too far for them to cope with. These effects could even be as serious as a student contemplating taking their own life if they feel things are gone beyond their grasp and there is no way back or they feel there is no glimmer of hope for them, ‘In the 1930’s suicide was the second leading cause of death among college students’, Blumental and Kupfer (1990, p. 16).
Stress among students can also lead to bouts of depression which is also a quite serious to have to deal with. With the effects of stress being so bad that the student cannot cope this can ultimately break them down and as a result depression could possibly develop as a result of the stress being too much to deal with, ‘During the academic year, many college students suffer some symptoms of depression which can exert a toll on academic performance’, Coon and Mitterer (2008, p. 444).
Student Stress: Effects and Solutions. ERIC Digest 85-1. Stress is any situation that evokes negative thoughts and feelings in a person. The same situation is not evocative or stressful for all people, and all people do not experience the same negative thoughts and feelings when stressed. One model that is useful in understanding stress among students is the person-environmental model. According ...
Effects of variations in student workload, student schedules, student decision-making in University environments should all be examined and looked at in relation to how a student is possible effected by stress. Not surprisingly, the workload of a student at University is significantly more stressful and intense than what the student has experienced at primary and secondary school level. There are also other factors that can cause stress for a student during their time at University.
Students staying up until all hours of the morning studying for exams and trying to cram everything in at the last possible minute, possibly the pressure of trying to maintain a social life and fit in with other students without the fear of being labelled a loner. Another major factor would be that of a student possible making the wrong decision in relation to the course they have decided to study at University, deciding that possibly the course is not for them and this could also bring on certain levels of stress, ‘50% of American students who enter University do not end up graduating’, (Stress.
About. Com/Student, n. d. ) The effects of stress can have serious consequences on the health of a student. Chronic stress occurs when the body experiences so many stressors that the autonomic nervous system has little time to activate the relaxation response. Chronic stress occurs quite frequently from our lifestyles which includes everything from pressure at work to academic pressure, ‘Chronic strain may influence the relationship between specific stressors and adverse physical or psychological effects’, Taylor (2009, p. 165).
Chronic stress can also have long term effects such as brain damage.
When people suffer from chronic stress, our brain gets flooded with an enzyme which in effect breaks down part of the structure of the neurons in the prefrontal cortex, ‘A chronic over reaction to stress overloads the brain with powerful hormones that are intended only for short-term duty in emergency situations, their cumulative effect damages and kills brain cells’, (Fi. Edu/Learn/Brain/Stress, n. d. ) Stress associated with exams for students can bring on symptoms such as anorexia, anxiety and even in some cases psychiatric problems.
Pressure applied on students from over demanding parents can put severe stress and pressure on a student which in my opinion is very wrong. In coping with students who have been experiencing stress, no matter what level the stress is at, students should be treated with the upmost compassion and professionalism. If I was a counsellor and I had to deal with a student who was under stress, the first thing I would do would be to meet the student in question in a comfortable and relaxed setting.
Delivrance Tufuka Delivrance 1 Mrs. Morris English 111-02 07 June 2010 Effects of stress on students in college Many students face stress as they try to mix up busy lives, school, and work; while they are trying also to have time with family and friend. For some student, stress becomes almost a way of living. However, it is really dangerous to let stress become student’s way of living in college, ...
Once I have introduced myself and explained to the student that anything said to me would be treated confidentially and with respect, I would then try to establish where or why the stress is coming from or what is bringing it on, ‘For most people change takes place in gradual stages that build on each other’, Herbert and Wetmore (1993 , p. 52).
There are several things I could do as a counsellor to assist a student who is suffering from stress.
Firstly establish a level of trust with the student and find out what their daily routine consists of and see if there is anything that stands out of the ordinary. Talk to the student about situations that stress them out and how they behave when they find themselves in these particular situations. Discuss with them how they could possible behave differently in the situations that they find most stressful for themselves so that they could take more control of their life’s, have more confidence in dealing with stressful situations and to try and remain calm and relaxed as much as possible.
I would ask the student to make a list of things that they feel would make their life happier and less stressful, once this list would be made I would then discuss it with the student and try and achieve a positive outcome. The stigma surrounding mental illnesses means many people often go without seeking help which in itself can contribute to stress. Counselling can identify a persons reasons for stress and help them to assess their values which may have prevented them from adequate self-protection previously.
Counselling on a one to one basis can allow the student to speak more openly and honest about their feelings and can help them to be more assertive, ‘Stress counselling and management can involve helping a person to deal with the stressors in life’, Palmer and Dryden (2008 , p. 444).
Stress management is another effective method of coping with stress. In order to develop an effective stress management programme it is essential to identify certain factors that are essential to a student controlling their stress and to identify the intervention methods which target these factors.
Being a student can be the most exhilarating time of your life. New friends, new places, new challenges can all add up to a huge buzz. But all those things can also make student life seem a total nightmare. Financial worries, debt, exam pressure, burden of homework, relationship problem, parental pressure and so on, these all together buildup students’ stress, which can overwhelm any student ...
This proposes that stress can be reduced by helping stressed students change their perceptions of stressors and to provide them with strategies to help them cope and improving their ability to do so, ‘In the present volume, the term stress management refers to the identification and analysis of problems related to stress, and the application of a variety of therapeutic tools to alter either the source of stress or the experience of stress’, Cotton (1990 , p. 4).
Within universities there are ways in which individuals can help students minimise the levels of stress which they might find themselves under. I, as a counsellor at a University would firstly make my services known to each and every student, for example new students who enter University for the first time, by just simply visiting their lecturers and introducing myself as the counsellor for the campus and giving them the reassurance that at anytime they might feel under pressure or feel that things might be getting on top of them that I am there to help, give advice but more importantly listen to them.
I would request permission of the Professor in charge of the University in all main areas of the campus advertising such agencies as Aware and the Samaritans where if a student might feel uncomfortable talking to me as their counsellor they can contact agencies such as these and speak to somebody who is trained to listen and help without the students identity being revealed.
Students sometimes tend to keep issues to themselves and as a result they might not be aware that fellow students may also be affected and disturbed by the same thoughts and issues. At times even discussing an issue with a fellow student, friend or counsellor can help a student to see things in a different light. It is of the upmost importance that these conversations should be positive at all times and aim to install hope and confidence into the student who is under stress.
There is no point in having a discussion with a student who is in need of help if all you are going to do is place negative thoughts in their mind, ‘Stress levels may be particularly high for those entering their freshman year when they are suddenly separated from family and friends and thrust into strange surroundings, as time goes on college students can encounter such stress including factors as academic pressure, financial problems, time constraints along with a host of others’, Humphrey (2003 , p . ).
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Stress can be an important factor for psychological symptoms in certain students, it can trigger a variety of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression or even insomnia.
I have briefly spoken about certain mental illnesses earlier in this essay but as a counsellor it is important for me if I meet with a student who is under an extreme level of stress and who I feel might be heading down the road of a mental illness to advise them to seek professional help such as speaking to their Doctor or even get referred to a Psychiatrist for certain extreme cases, ‘Counselling can be as effective as drugs for relatively minor psychiatric conditions, such as some cases of anxiety, milder forms of depression and stress’, Greener ( 1996 , p . 31).
In relation to relevant literature on student stress, I will now refer to a journal called The Impact Of student stress On Health Related Quality Of Life Among Doctor Of Pharmacy Students. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between student life stress and their quality of health. In relation to the particular course in question that the students were undertaking it required enormous commitment and a lot of hard work by students and this intense level of work has the possibility to produce on the students.
In conclusion of this study, higher student-life stress was recorded and strategies should be developed to reduce student life stress and improve the mental health in these students. Summary Within this essay I have discussed sources of student stress and how students find themselves under stress at certain times during the academic year. I also described how effects of stress can have serious consequences on a student such as resulting in a mental illness like depression or even result in suicidal thoughts. I outlined some coping strategies which I as a counsellor in a University would perform.
How Stresses Affect Our Health People feel stressed very frequently. The majority of stresses are connected with our working activity, family life or emotional connections. Stresses can be caused by hundreds of different reasons, starting with rainy weather or vapid food and ending with marital separation or loss of a relative. Everything, which causes stress, is called stressor. According to this ...