Student stress and its consequences

The transition between life of a high school student to the life of a university student can be challenging for some. University is a stressful experience for every student and with it comes many expectations that students feel they must fulfill. For instance: the large pile of assignments, adjusting to the university life, the longer classes, and expectations of parents regarding academic performance.  It’s not like we can cut out all the fun assignments to make it less stressful. Those assignments are beneficial for you to do well during exam week by having a better understanding of the material. Stress is a constant factor found in everyday life. In fact, research reveals that stress is a common problem among students in specific. It’s not something we can completely prevent or put a stop to.

Stress can lead to poor exam grades. Art by Neha Sekhon
Stress can lead to poor exam grades. Art by Neha Sekhon

I personally find the studying for exams just as stressful as the exam itself. I think this way for a variety of reasons, such as when I find the course and/or material more difficult than usual or if I don’t know what is going to be on the exam (sometimes it’s a little hard to find the important information that may be the key to getting an amazing mark). Another worry is when I have two exams on the same day and I don’t know which one to begin to studying for at what time, or relying on the bad habit of procrastination.

Stress can lead to a poor grade on exams. The important thing to remember when combating stress is to be prepared. By being prepared I mean truly studying and not leaving it to the last moment; going over the material from the beginning of the term that way you have plenty of time to fully comprehend it and ask any questions that could help you better understand.

In a 2014 journal article called “Sleep Quality during Exam Stress: The Role of Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine” written by Matthias Zunhammer, Peter Eichhammer, and Volker Busch, stress is reported to have a great impact on student health. The rates of consumption of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are reported to change due to the level of stress during the exam period.  As a result, it affects the quality of sleep or sleep withdrawal, which can lead to a low academic performance. In a journal article called “Academic Stress: Its Causes and Results at a Ugandan University” written by Gladys Nakalemaand Joseph Ssenyonga, academic stress is stated to be caused by poor study habits such as poor time management when studying for exams or coursework. Hence, the student needs to develop good study habits that can be used as coping strategies to help the student in meeting the academic demands of the university.

Our university could help reveal student stress by providing workshops for exam preparation and stress management. Even providing something to take the students’ minds off the exams could help relieve the stress. For instance, this fall during exam week, the school had puppies that students could play with for the purpose of relieving stress. Initiatives such as these should be continued to help relieve student stress, but more should be looked into as well.

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