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Supervising Stress During the School Year

By Skylar Dorr

With the rush of near-end-of-semester responsibilities and finals on the horizon, it’s common to find that the class workload is increasing substantially as professors begin to prepare their students for what’s to come. Naturally, you may find that as the number of assignments increases, so does your stress level. 

When left unchecked stress can be debilitating and make it difficult to manage not only academics, but other aspects of life as well. This is why it’s paramount for students to figure out how to manage their stress in a way that works best for them.

There are various different triggers for stress, all depending on the type of person you are and how you handle pressure. 

“It is important to learn how stress fits into your life,” said Scott Zotto, director of Adelphi’s Student Counseling Center (SCC). “For example, on a scale of zero to 10 where zero is stress-free and 10 is a panic attack, ask yourself what number represents your stress level at any given time.” 

Zotto added that taking the time out to figure out how stress is affecting you personally aids immensely in beginning to manage it in a way that works best for you.

Adelphi offers a ton of activities that allow students to participate and take their minds off  things that are making them feel pressured and overwhelmed. Emma Pappas, a junior nursing major, actively attends the spin class that Adelphi offers and attributes that to being able to keep her stress levels somewhat stationary. 

“It’s a great way to increase your endorphins and decrease stress,” said Pappas. “Not only are you working out but you’re listening to music and sharing a common space with other people.” 

Students are stressed; often from the beginning to the very end of the semester.

This class is just one of many, so if you’re curious and in desperate need of an activity to help get your mind off homework, visit MyAULife for a list of upcoming events being held at Adelphi.

Another way to cope with academic strain is to seek social support whenever possible. Margarita Rodriguez, a junior psychology major, found that one of the best ways she is able to handle her stress is simply to seek comfort with others who are sharing similar experiences. “I think it’s always really important to have a good support system, and my support system is my friends,” said Rodriguez. 

Having other people around who are able to be a source of calm and comfort in a time when anxiety and stress are high is a great way to make sure that classes aren’t having too much of a negative impact. “Some stress motivates us to make changes, to accomplish goals, and to connect with our feelings for other people,” said Zotto. “Stress becomes an issue when it interferes with our ability to live, laugh, love and learn.”

People who don’t consider themselves social butterflies and have little interest in outside activities may find that the presence of others doesn't help much when trying to decompress. This is why it is also beneficial to develop stress-coping mechanisms that are not reliant on other people. 

To not be super overwhelmed, I write out lists for myself detailing which tasks I will complete over the week,” said Jenna Giakoumis, a sophomore communications major. “I usually try to give myself a time buffer so I can postpone a task if life gets in the way.” 

Something as simple as making a list of what needs to be done can help immensely in managing stress in a more organized fashion, and is also something that can be completed alone. 

Stress is an inevitable part of the human experience, so it can be difficult to tell when normal everyday stress turns into being burnt out and overwhelmed. 

According to Zotto, the key word to figure out when it’s all too-much is “unmanageable.” “We will ask students if what they're experiencing is overwhelming and unable to be contained,” he said. “That's when counseling can truly be helpful.”

Adelphi’s SCC is easily accessible and available to provide support. The free, confidential service is available to students who are enrolled in at least one credit. 

“Our team of licensed mental health practitioners work with students living with a range of mental health issues,” said Zotto. From something as simple as testing anxiety to more intensive long-term care work, the SCC is a great place to seek mental health care when nothing else seems to be working. 

If the homework is beginning to take its toll, it might be worthwhile to sit and evaluate how the stress is impacting you. Instead of trying to push past your breaking point, develop some healthy coping mechanisms that alleviate some of that profound pressure. You can seek support from friends, from counselors or do it on your own. Regardless of how the stress gets dealt with, it should be managed before it becomes too unbearable. It might just save your mental health and also your GPA.

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