The Stress Factor

How Some Students Limit Stress in Exchange for Success

Anthony Awgul, Staff Writer

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The effects of stress can be detrimental to students. Unfortunately; we all experience it. The American Institute of Stress stated;According to a 2008 mental health study by the Associated Press and mtvU, eight in ten college students say they have sometimes or frequently experienced stress in their daily lives over the past three months. This is an increase of 20% from a survey five years ago.”


Stress has been found to cause many inopportune symptoms for students including a lack of focus, insomnia, loss of energy, poor immunity, low self esteem, anxiety, and more. Juggling so many responsibilities like school, work, extracurricular activities, and other personal activities often triggers these stress symptoms.


Stress is the body’s reaction to unfavorable situations. When you experience stress; your body is preparing you to face a threatening situation and a chemical reaction occurs. Web MD states that, “During stress response, your heart rate increases, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. You’ve gotten ready to act. It is how you protect yourself.” Some small stress can definitely be a good thing which causes your body to act in a positive way or avoid a threatening situation. However, most of the stress we experience tends to be detrimental to health.


It was clear that a Quakertown, PA resident (who chose not to use his name in the interview) that attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania let stress get the best of him. He said, “After my first year of school, I was done with it. I had so much anxiety and stress that I just didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.” Consequently, he said; “I decided to quit after my first year there since I couldn’t take the stress anymore. Now that I’m out of school, I’m experiencing more stress than ever trying to decide whether or not to go back to school, or continue to find a quality paying job to provide for myself.”


Since we all experience stress, how do we deal with it and maximize our success in our studies? The American Psychological Association provides these five following tips for people to manage stress; “Take a break from the stressor, exercise, smile and laugh, get social support, and meditate.”  These healthy habits may help your body reduce stress and increase your positive outlook.


As Matthew Awgul began his first year of high school this year, he was presented with more stress in school than he has ever felt before. However, Matthew said, “I like to deal with stress by doing my hobbies. I love to ride RC cars, target shooting, and video games. After a long day of school, all of these things help me keep my sanity!” He also said, “I noticed that I tend to do better in school when I make sure I take time to relieve stress and do these things.”


After asking the student who left Indiana University of Pennsylvania some ways that he has found to manage stress, he said; “I just try to go out and hang out with friends. My one friend has a boat and we go fishing on it often. But yeah- getting together with friends helps me keep stress levels to a minimum.” He made it very clear that by finding ways to manage stress has improved his life in general.


School is not easy and is very stressful, but in the long run it will provide a far better opportunity. When students find productive ways to manage their stress during their exhausting studies, not only do their grades improve, but their quality of life improves as well.