College Freshman Unprepared for Stress
Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Updated: Saturday, February 12, 2011 12:02
As high school juniors and seniors begin their college search, they face a range of emotions about the exciting unknown that lies ahead. Movies and television shows contribute to their anticipation by creating an image of college that is thrilling, dramatic and, frankly, unrealistic.
College is fun. There are parties, new friends and freedom. However, these elements of college receive so much publicity that they mask other, less pleasant aspects of college life. While students and their parents worry about getting into the best school, they may be overlooking the difficult aspects of adjusting to college life. There is a great deal of stress involved with the pressure of making new friends, handling intense workloads and being away from home. Many of these factors are too often ignored.
Neglecting to prepare oneself for the entire college experience may be something that has increased in recent years. Current college freshman have the lowest emotional health in 25 years, which is how long the survey has been conducted. Of the 200,000 students who were surveyed only 52 percent claimed they thought their emotional health was above average. In 1985, however, the percentage was 64. Since 1985, the numbers have risen in students who believe their emotional health is less than average.
Before coming to college, students are flooded with images from movies about the exciting rush of college life. In addition, there are countless stories from elders about how college years will be the best years of their lives. While coping with stresses of a new environment during first-year fall, the college experience is likely to fall short of these grand expectations.
In addition to college falling short of initial expectations, the economy is also to blame for these rising levels of unhealthy emotional stress levels in college first-years. Expenses for college do not stop after thousands of dollars in tuition. Books, eating off campus, and going in and out of Boston can add up quickly. Students feel pressure to get jobs in order to pay for everything. Holding a part-time job on top of school and other commitments is a difficult task, but finding a job is not any easier. Everyone is looking for work. Even at Wellesley it seems as though students jobs are swept up very quickly. There are not enough jobs to go around.
It is easy to look at the past and think that things were better or easier for people back then. Many of the problems students face today are not entirely new. More people have a college education now than they did twenty or thirty years ago. As more people work towards college degrees there is additional pressure to make oneself stand out in the sea of college graduates. Every student and person has doubts and questions their abilities to succeed. With more competition, these feelings are magnified. Current college students face an interesting point in the countries history. Although every generation has a defining moment or quality, current students' emotional health is tested through having to deal with the pressures of an ever changing technological world, historic economic crisis, and, of course, the typical strife that comes with change and getting older.