Letter from the Editor: College Stress

(Originally from my magazine The Odyssey: A Magazine Presented by The Sojourn)

Going through the school day– walking down the hallways, participating in class, leading staff meetings– most people can find me with a smile on my face. I’ve always been someone who others tell me how much I make them laugh and how positive I am about everything.

But honestly, I’m not always like this. Most people would be surprised to know I have dealt with lots of stress and anxiety during my college years. I can recall several times the past few years lying in my bed, crying, thinking how I can’t handle all of my schoolwork and job duties. Many mornings I have woken up feeling sick to my stomach, immediately overwhelmed by everything on my schedule for that day.

I’ve never been too open about this area of my life because I don’t like to be vulnerable. I don’t want others to take pity on me, or to think of me as a weak person. So for two years, I’ve worked hiding how I truly feel and carried the burden on my own.

It wasn’t until this school year that I’ve been able to be more open about it and express my worries and fears to others. Since doing that, it has felt as though a very heavy has been lifted off of my shoulders. I know have a better sense that I will be able to get my work accomplished and know everything is going to be okay.

college-stress-infographicAfter researching studies on college stress, it has been a relief to know I’m not alone, but I am saddened by the results I found. According to a mtvU/AP poll in 2009, 85 percent of students reported they experience stress on a daily basis, with six in 10 reporting they have felt so stressed they couldn’t get their work done.

On top of that, the poll reported 53 percent said they have felt so stressed they didn’t want to hang out with friends one or more occasions. Also, one out of every ten students has reported signs of moderate to severe depression.

After reading these results, I wondered how there are probably many students on the IWU campus who are feeling this same way, and like me, don’t want to speak up about it to show weakness or vulnerability. My hope is that this magazine is able to help those needing help in this area of their life.

If you are worried about figuring out what your life calling is, make sure to read “Finding the Right Path” on (page #), a story about IWU graduates who changed their career to something completely different than what they majored in college. For those scared to make a bold move about their major or career choice, get some inspiration from Ryan Frank on (page #). If you are feeling worried about getting a job after college, get motivated from recent graduates’ testimonies on how cool their lives are post-college.

Having anxiety about college and life is never easy to deal with. I hope these stories can help you overcome your fears and motivate you to work hard so you can be successful in college and in the future.

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