Generations Yap... About Stress and Managing Stress

November 3, 2017

 

You’ve got a research paper, project and 2 exams in 2 weeks! Chances are, you’re feeling the pressure. Where do you begin? College can be stressful but how is it just the name of the game or has it gotten out of hand and how do we deal with it?


This week we begin talking about stress and managing stress in college by talking with USF seniors Kyle Mitchell (Sports Management) and Gio Conte (Criminal Justice).

 

Coming into college, did you have realistic expectations about what college was going to be like?

 

Kyle Mitchell: […] When I came into college, I didn’t think it was going to be any harder or any difficult than high school. I’ve always been a guy that kinda, I guess, “played the system,” in a way. Ya know, I know my way around. I’ve been going to school ever since I was a little kid so; I didn’t expect it to be anything crazy. […] The classes weren’t anything super hard.

 

Gio Conte: I feel the same way, like, when I came into college [originally] majoring in Biology; I was taking AP Bio in my high school. But, for the most part, my expectations were met but my Bio classes and stuff in college were a little bit harder than I figured. That’s why I kinda switched, because there was just a lot that was on my plate at the time.

 

What was the first time that you really remember feeling stressed out? How did it play out? How did you resolve it?

 

Kyle Mitchell: So, I have kinda like a different mindset about stress, I guess. I don’t believe in it. […] So, when thing’s get difficult in a class, I’ve always gone to the teachers and I’ve always reached out to classmates. I’d make group chats for class, I’d always surround myself with others that can always help me so, I don’t feel like I’m in a situation where I can’t do something on my own. […]. I smile and I take it in for what it is and I reach out for help.

 

Gio Conte: I feel like the first time that I felt stressed was when I had, I think it was about a year ago, I had my research paper that was due—it was a 30-page research paper that was due […]. And I had that along with quite a few other projects that I had to do. I’m a huge procrastinator, so I kinda put it all off till the end and I hate myself for doing that and I still do that to this day. […] Putting everything till the end and especially with all that with my major work and everything like that, it kinda stressed me out a little bit. And I usually don’t get stressed out much, I usually just go with the flow and see how everything is but me procrastinating as much as I do/did, kinda put me back a little bit […].

 

Have you found that all-nighters or at least late nights are common in college? Is an 8-hour sleep schedule realistic?

 

Kyle Mitchell: I remember when I first started, I would stay up till 2 or 3 in the morning and I was really like, diligent with like really putting [in] that effort […] Lately, I won’t stay up past 1 a.m. If it’s not done then it’s not done, that’s how I see it. I feel like my sleeping is more important especially, if you have an early morning class. […] So, I don’t really believe in staying up that late, I don’t think it’s worth it. Also, it depends on the severity of the assignment, if it’s an assignment that I’m gonna pass or fail; I’m staying up for it.

 

Gio Conte: I think I’ve only pulled off an all-nighter or close to an all-nighter once or twice out of 5 years that I’ve been here. I don’t do ‘em. I don’t believe in ‘em. […] I don’t mind if I have to, I’ll work on homework until 2, 3 in the morning, that’s fine. If it’s gotta get done, it’s gotta get done. I won’t do an all-nighter. It’s just not my thing. Not even that I need the sleep, it’s just; I feel like focusing on it for too long […] it becomes way too overwhelming.

 

Have you guys observed others around campus dealing with stress in a similar way? Do their reactions seem standard or are they pushed too far?

 

Kyle Mitchell: I actually think that it’s on the students more. […]. […] How stressed would you be if you had all of your work turned in on time, early, ya know what I’m saying? If you had time to go to the ARC, go to your teachers and see what they wanted on the assignment and you got good grades on it, how stressed would you really be, if you got everything in on time?

 

Gio Conte: […] I just feel like since I’ve been here, this is my last year here or whatever, I just feel like I’ve gotten so used to seeing people stressed out and it’s just like, a normal thing about finals and midterms. I’ve had other people not stress about it. I, most of the time, don’t have to stress about ‘em. But seeing people stress out about midterms and final exams, is definitely a normal occurrence, it’s nothing new to me. Do I think it’s the school’s fault? Not really. I genuinely think it’s mainly the students and how everything has been the whole semester for them.

 

Do you think college cultivates a stressful environment? Does it encourage students to deal with it in a positive or negative way?

 

Kyle Mitchell: It’s situational for the person. For someone like me, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke and I don’t do drugs. So, if school were to get a little bit too difficult for me, I wouldn’t revert to that and I wouldn’t stoop that low. That’s not something I do. I would go and lift, I would go work out and let my frustrations out that way, if I’m frustrated. So, if you practice good techniques to deal with it, it’s only helping you, it’s only preparing you for your real job because there will be different forces acting on you […].

 

Gio Conte: I feel like it definitely depends on the person and the individual because I mean, we’re in college. Like, everything is readily available. If you want to cope with it one way, you can go and do that. If you want to cope with it this other way, you can go do that. […] I mean it’s there. It’s always here; you’re in the real world now. It just all depends on how the student copes with everything. […] At the end of the day, I feel like it definitely comes down to the student.

 

Next up, we talk with Larry Dunbar, USF’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program Coordinator/Instructor. Larry graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration Management from University of St. Francis in 1986.

 

Coming into college, did you have realistic expectations about what college was going to be like?

 

Professor Dunbar: I think so. But, I was a commuter student and a part time student who was taking 1 or 2 courses a semester while working 60 hours a week. I also took my first 2 years at JJC. I think that may have helped some. Finally, I took a few years (6) off between high school and JJC. So, in many ways, I was a non-traditional student.

 

What was the first time that you really remember feeling stressed out? How did it play out? How did you resolve it?

 

Professor Dunbar: I honestly don’t remember ever being “stressed out.” I had one semester my “junior” year that I was getting very tired of school and a little burned out, but nothing over the top. How did that play out? I guess I just completed the semester and moved on. What caused it? Taking classes part time, it felt like it would never end. In the end it took 6 ½ years to complete my BA. How did you resolve it? I just did my best and completed the semester and moved on. I could see that light at the end of the tunnel by then.

 

Have you found that all-nighters or at least late nights are common in college? Is an 8-hour sleep schedule realistic?

 

Professor Dunbar: It can be if you need it and prioritize that over socializing and parties and such. But, where’s the fun in that? You’re in college.

 

Did you observe others around campus dealing with stress in a similar way? Did their reactions seem standard or were they pushed too far?

 

Professor Dunbar: That is difficult to say. I didn’t live on campus and didn’t take part in many campus activities. I had a very separate social life. I went to class and then went home. I guess my reactions were out of the ordinary to other college students.

 

Do you think college cultivates a stressful environment? Does it encourage students to deal with it in a positive or negative way?

 

Professor Dunbar: Some students are not developmentally ready for college and need a year or 2 off in between. I am certain that helped me. Difficult to say. College offers many ways to deal with it in a healthy way, but some need more than that. Some need to be reached out to. It may not be very good at that.

 

The Verdict:

Both generations seem to have had clear expectations for what college was going to be like. Of course, that didn’t mean there weren’t times of trouble. However, instead of running away in fear, they went into the eye of the storm. For Professor Dunbar, it seemed as though his time away from school helped him mature to be able to handle the stress easier; in fact, he didn’t seem to get stressed. Gio and Kyle, on the other hand, have been here awhile; yet don’t seem too fazed by their academics either.

 

The key seems to be prioritizing…. work now; play later and you’ll have plenty of time later!

 

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