Stress has always been a part of the college experience, but recent studies show that college students are more stressed than ever.
A January The New York Times article stated only 52 percent of college freshmen ranked their emotional health as “above average.” This number is down from the 64 percent recorded in 1985.
Among other stressors, college students must deal with social pressures, demanding class schedules, staying healthy and pleasing parents. Yet one of the biggest factors in student stress is the national unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, which causes UM students to fear the job search after graduation.
“My program is well-known, but there are no guarantees that anyone is going to give me a paycheck,” said senior Mike Defelippo, a music business major.
Because students cannot count on their degree alone to get them a job, internships have become a more important part of the college experience.
Sophomore Joe Kleiman felt that securing summer internships was a major stress trigger.
“I’m always making sure I stay updated on internship opportunities,” he said.
Yet securing an internship is only the beginning. According to Defelippo, the procedure to approve his internship was even more painstaking.
“Getting my internship approved by UM was like pulling teeth,” he said. “There is a process to go through with Toppel and my boss where they have to approve of working together. I even have to write a paper on it.”
Rising college tuition costs also adds to students’ stress levels. The cost of one year as a UM undergraduate is $36,962.
This figure does not include personal and transportation expenses, which can add several thousands for students who live outside Florida.
“My financial aid issue with loans is stressful,” junior Stephanie Morel said. “People really like to drag their feet with these things, and you can’t register until you pay the loan.”
Another common stress students deal with is an inability to choose which career path to take. This anxiety is heightened by stiff competition in the job market- over six million students are attending college throughout the country.
“It’s hard to know where to start,” Defelippo said. “After four years I have a general idea, but it’s not perfect.”
The college experience itself can be more stressful than the prospect of job hunting.
“I’m not really worried about finding a job, but I am worried about getting into medical school,” Morel said. “Less than half the people who apply get in. That is a scary statistic.”
Kylie Banks may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.