Sunday, March 23, 2008

College Stress

The Silent Predator That Destroys College Life Fantasies
By Kristen Pesature

Upon graduating high school, there is a sense of hope that settles over every senior who throws their cap high into the air; a sense of freedom, a sense of accomplishment, a sense that now, their lives can finally begin. Visions of parties, of impending adulthood, and of plenty of free time are dancing through the heads of these young adults.

College, however, is a rather different experience than the images painted on our brains by movies such as Animal House. There is a silent predator lurking in the background, waiting to suck the life out of these fantasies: Stress.

As a student attending Marymount Manhattan College, the experience of college life cannot be farther from the daydreams the average high school students find themselves immersed in. Manhattan is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and emerging from a suburban environment where your days are routine into the literal Real World is an absolute and total culture shock.

The general cost of living for a student at Marymount is extensive, coupled with the cost of tuition, books, dorms, and other expenses that it takes to actually attend Marymount successfully is an astronomical monetary figure. The looming specter of college loans that appear in the guise of FAFSA and Sally Mae forms do not disappear from the mind no matter how far out of sight they are.

This usually causes most college students to get a part time job in order to cover the general cost of living as well as savings for the impending loan payback. A full time student takes 15 credits a semester, which equals five classes each semester. Classes, jobs, never being able to make the budget, fearing the day that six month grace period expires….these thoughts alone can cause stress.

But the daily routine is the biggest and most dangerous accumulation of stress that appears on the list. In order to be financially stable to a certain degree, a person must attend a job in a timely fashion and perform in a manner that enables the job to be kept. After this, classes must be attended or else the attendance policy kicks in, and then there is the homework that needs to be done in order to progress. This is a basic day-to-day for an average Marymount student.

According to a study by the University of Florida Counseling Center, one of the leading ways to combat stress is to develop a balanced lifestyle. With all the commotion of the daily grind, where is there time to find a balance? The balance entails an unhealthy lack of food and sleep, which go far beyond the realm of basic stressors. This is in the realm of general physical unhealthy. An unhealthy body is incapable of dealing with stress in an effective manner.

The cost of living, the overall environment that New York provides, and the college experience that one still searches for is nowhere to be found.

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