Students stress before graduation

In Features
Most students are stressed during this time of the semester. They are getting in those last-minute papers, taking tests, preparing for presentation and, of course, getting ready for finals. For seniors, especially those who are about to graduate in just a few weeks, the stress level is over the top.Not only are graduating seniors stressed with the fact that they are forced to go into the real world and get a job with the help of their degree, but also, there are so many other pressures that lay on their shoulders. Just to name an example — there is already a strenuous workload that seems to hit seniors like a ton of bricks. Most graduating seniors are involved in capstone classes, and retaking that class is something that no one wants to do.

Soon-to-be-graduating senior Ava Copper, an accounting major, said she feels the pressure of this semester as the weeks are getting closer and closer to graduation.

“I honestly did not think I would be the way I’ve been lately, which is emotional,” said Copper. “I’m excited to graduate, but every week that (passes) by scares me. I have a very heavy workload, so when a week passes, I start thinking of the next thing that’s due.”

Cooper said she has her plate full and has over-extended herself. This has caused her to have emotional breakdowns, bouts of worrying and stress issues.

“Sometimes I’ll just cry because I am so overwhelmed … I know in the world other issues will come up after I graduate, but I think this is just the first time I’ve been under the gun and overwhelmed at the same time,” Copper said.

Leticia Gutierrez-Lopez, Psy.D., director of Counseling and Psychological Services on campus, said what Copper and others are experiencing is normal, and has seen these types of behaviors in graduating seniors.

“Often times, graduating seniors begin to experience the same feelings that they did during their first year of college: anxiety about change and transition into a new role,” said Gutierrez-Lopez. “There is also worry about financial stability, finding a job, acceptance/entrance into a grad program (and) getting the right grades in their courses before graduation.”

Gutierrez-Lopez said that being able to manage life day by day is recommended for students to manage their stress load. Doing everything at once can break a person, but taking one step at a time is the best way to cope with stress.

The Student Health and Counseling Center on campus isn’t the only organization that deals with graduating seniors and their stress. The Academic Advisement Center sees different sides of graduating students. Some are relaxed and others stressed because of classes.

Graham Seigler, student assistant in the Academic Advisement Center and kinesiology major, said, “Graduating seniors seem to fall into two groups. Most of the seniors are carefree, all their classes are done, everything is set and ready to go. The rest of the seniors are very stressed out because they might be missing a class or two or they have a requirement that must be completed in order to graduate. Their stress levels are either higher or lower than normal depending on what they have left to complete and how easy it will be to do so.”

Seigler said there is an influx of graduating seniors during the spring and that some of the students that come in are mostly worried or confused because of emails they receive notifying them that something is missing in order for them to graduate. That alone can put pressure and stress on a graduating senior.

“I try to relieve as much stress from students as I can and then the advisers handle the rest. Overall, students have very good experiences with the AAC,” said Seigler.

Students from freshmen to graduating seniors are stressed in many ways this time of year.  Graduating seniors tend to lead the pack with the majority of stress in their lives right now.

There are ways to de-stress and not lose your mind this time of year.

Gutierrez-Lopez has simple tips that can help seniors or anyone deal with the pressure of stress:

·         Eat Well and Get enough rest/sleep: They are necessary to function at full capacity as you complete final projects and assignments.
·         Exercise: Even 15 to 20 minutes of exercise can help increase energy and give you an overall feeling of well-being.
·         Relaxation: It’s important to figure out the activities that you find relaxing. During the final few weeks of school, it is helpful to fit in short periods of relaxation.
·         Emotional Support: Find people in your life that you trust and feel comfortable with sharing your frustrations regarding having to do so many things at once.
·         Study Schedules: It is important to schedule and plan as you are getting ready to complete your final assignments.

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