Exam stress relief falls on both students, university

WSN Editorial Board

Midterm season is quickly descending upon the NYU community. In a perfect world, the only responsibilities during the next few weeks would be exams — and even then, tests alone would make for a sufficiently busy schedule. Unfortunately, college students’ obligations outside of the classroom do not subside when academic pressure escalates. In this stress-inducing city, it is important for students to know which pressure-relieving strategies work best for them, as well as which resources are available to help them get through October.

According to Gregg Henriques, a professor of psychology at James Madison University, college students live in the “age of anxiety,” marked by increasing classification of stress-related mental conditions. Rates of depression are higher than ever, in part because of the rapid evolution of technology and the accompanying information overload. Nowhere is that more felt than in New York. The realities of life in New York City are not always conducive to the expectations some students have for college. New York City is an isolating city, a fact often learned the hard way.

For students in their late teens who are not yet fully matured and socially adjusted, the transition to city life can be difficult. In addition to academic stress, social stress among college students is high — sudden separation from parents and friends from home leaves a void typically filled with an excess of social contact. But in New York City, where genuine social contact is the only thing that is not offered in excess, that void becomes larger. During test time, when walking uptown to visit a friend seems like a distraction from studying, time management is crucial.

While the health center has been given awards for its services based on comparative standards, the resources available have been criticized by the student body. Students should try to take advantage of resources such the Stressbusters program, which offers “Take a Break Tuesday” and “Wind Down Wednesday,” as well as normal walk-in hours. With the possibility of services being overbooked, however, students should form external support networks as well. We must find individualized means of addressing stress-related problems and learn to tackle struggles in healthy ways, such as talking with friends and professors, sleeping enough and eating full meals.

NYU is not uniquely stressful, but the combination of adjusting to social life and academics in New York City can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Students must learn healthy and productive ways to stay calm and collected, like exercising and going outside for fresh air. Strategies for anxiety management extend far beyond midterms — they are life skills that need to regularly be drawn upon.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 7 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]

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