Stereotypes about long lazy days for study are a myth for most students. In reality most try to hold down a job in order to pay their way as well as study for good grades. But these aren’t the only pressures a student can face. New students are particularly vulnerable to anxiety, stress and depression, way beyond what might be considered typical for leaving home. So, what exactly are some of the key pressure points for students?
For many students the first time they have ever spent a lengthy time away from friends and family is when they go to College. Some of the busiest places can also be the most lonely. What used to be passed off as home-sickness is becoming more recognized for what it really is, and that’s depression.
More and more students are encouraged to study abroad as a part of their broadened curriculum but it can come as a shock to encounter different systems of tuition, standards and teaching methods, let alone different cultures. While some students find such experiences enriching others become ever more stressed.
An aspirational student is likely to succeed but hovering over their shoulder may be the fear of failure. For some students anything other than an A grade is a failure. The loss of perspective and high personal standards add to anxiety.
The unfortunate reality of some parental relationships is that they hold together just long enough for the kids to leave home or go to College. There is something of a pattern of parents splitting up and maybe selling the family home at the point their kids move out. Despite the distance many students are strongly attached to home and equally strongly affected by family breakdown.
It can be hard for anyone to speak out about emotional issues and it’s no different for students. In fact students often find it tougher because they sense an environment of sink or swim. Stigma is just as much a problem for the young as it is for older people, so suffering in silence continues to be an issue.
Colleges and Universities are catching up with support provision for students with anxiety and stress issues, but the consistency and standards of service can vary from place to place.
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Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s clinical background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.