It’s all in your head!

Sarah Spaulding

With heavy workloads, relationships and a new life without parents, college is the prime time for a lot of anxiety.

When Kathryn Vaughan, sophomore fashion merchandising major, realized she was strapped for money and thought she was failing half of her classes last semester, she began experiencing anxiety attacks.

“I’m a planner,” she said. “I like to have a plan for everything and know what I’m going to do. So, (when) everything (started) to go wrong for me, I started freaking out.”

Students today are five times more prone to anxiety and other mental health issues than those of the same age in the Great Depression, according to a new study. The findings of the study were drawn from responses to a psychological survey from 1938 to 2007.

Today’s youth are beginning to build the pressures of a wealth- and status-based society as early as high school. Students at Kent State are seeing the effects of this trend.

Clinical psychologist John Schell said that in his nine years at Kent State, he has seen “a real trend toward more anxiety, depression and mental health issues in general in college students.”

With heavy workloads, relationships and a new life without parents, college is the prime time for a lot of anxiety.

“The master’s degree is now a bachelor’s and the bachelor’s has become the associate’s, so I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me,” said Elizabeth Moore, senior speech pathology major. “Also, college is the time in your life where you’re going through break ups and drinking. There’s just a lot of pressure all at once.”

Students feel that expectations entering college are unrealistic and are worried about what might happen if they fall short.

“We’re expected to get jobs, go to class and get bachelor’s degrees to get better jobs,” said Alex Huston, sophomore visual communication design major. “But at the same time, there are only 24 hours in a day.”

The recession is also taking a toll on students who are trying to pay their way through college. Loans are looming before them, and part-time jobs are taking away precious time to study or just relax.

“I get anxiety about my grades suffering and any little thing, like bills,” said Chelsea Masselli, junior fashion merchandising major.

Schell suggested taking a preventative approach to stress rather than letting it build up and manifest in violent reactions. Seeking balance in life between responsibilities and some down time, eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep will allow students to cope with stress in the most constructive way.

Students also suggested that making time for your friends is the most important thing to do to unwind.

“(I’m most relaxed) when I’m with other people who are also relaxed,” Huston said. “Even if you’re with other people complaining about what you’re not relaxed about, it’s better than just sitting by yourself.”

Contact student life reporter Sarah Spaulding at [email protected]