Being enrolled in a university is, in itself, a significant cause of anxiety and stress among college students. A student from a different country, state, or background may be overwhelmed by the immense diversity of experiences, culture, and people that they encounter in a university. It is more difficult for many students because they are cut off physically from their comfort zones and their support systems.
They are now in a new and different environment with new and different rules. Once you are in college, you are currently on your own, and you must take care of your daily needs, such as your food, laundry, bank transactions, health, and many more. Crippling depression and anxiety may result when you realize your limitations and inadequacies. “Depression and anxiety are feelings that we would want to rid ourselves of, not turn into and certainly not welcome,” explains Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC.
Students are often confronted with a rigid academic structure. They also face pressure to perform well in exams. This system often forces the students to put too much pressure on themselves. And they often get barely any emotional assistance. The students compete against each other to achieve better grades in the belief that getting better grades would result in a better livelihood after college. They also feel constant pressure because of their concern that they are not doing enough with their time. But honestly, “The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating.” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. says.
These students would take too many classes. They would join clubs, each of which requires time and energy. They would also take part-time work because they either need the money or they want their resume to look better. And there is also the pressure of maintaining a healthy social life. This often means students have to keep in touch with their family, maintain relationships, go traveling, and attend parties.
Being far from your family can put a strain on your relationship with them even though you have a stable family, and you are very close to them. Students often face pressure from their parents to do well in college. They also face pressure from their parents to maintain their ideological, spiritual, and cultural identity, which may be challenging to do in a university with its immensely diverse cultural environment. And sometimes, there is also the additional stress on the student due to some unforeseen tragedy such as a sudden illness or death of a family member.
Many college students face immense pressure due to financial considerations. Most college students come from middle-class families, especially in India. This means that the cost of a college education represents a significant portion of the parents’ savings. If a student fails in college or does not do well in college, it means that a huge bulk of their parents’ savings is wasted. The cost of a college education is rapidly increasing each year, and the income of most families are not keeping up with the cost. Besides, “We all have money issues and quirks of one kind or another. If we don’t know what those quirks are, they will emerge in a time of real stress or panic.” Eric Dammann, PhD said.
Each year, more families are having a harder time paying for a college education. Worrying about finances is making more students feel stress, anxiety, and depression. They worry about the strain the cost of a college education is making on their lives. They also worry about the tension it makes in their families. Many students often take courses that they are not interested in because they believe graduating from such a course will lead to a better paying job. Studying in a college course that they are not interested in adds stress to the student.
College should be an enjoyable time in an individual’s life. Unfortunately, it is often a very stressful time. Knowing that stress is a normal part of college life can provide comfort to the student. Understanding the sources of stress can assist the student in coping with stress, anxiety, and depression in college.