Quick Takes: Stress

The workaholic culture of UCSD continues to proliferate the lives of students as constant reminders of the competitive work force which students will enter, creating stressful environments.

Increased Anxiety Levels May Equal Lower Productivity for Students

Every quarter, UCSD students are faced with a new set of classes. With every class comes midterms, quizzes, papers and finals, and you can feel the overall stress level growing on campus every week. On top of that, having a social life in college is asking students to balance a busy quarterly schedule with extracurricular activities, sports and naps. College students go through longer-than-average workweeks, and this stressful reality does not always push for better results. The National College Health Assessment polled students and found that 25 percent of them said that they experienced poor grades or unenrolled from classes as a result of stress. 

The stressful environment in which students develop here at UCSD is very goal-oriented and may discourage the student body from exploring other forms of individual accomplishments. Forbes magazine reports “the Global Benefits Attitudes survey found that levels of workplace disengagement significantly increase when employees experience high levels of stress. The study of 22,347 employees across 12 countries including the U.K. and U.S. revealed that over half of those employees claiming to be experiencing high stress levels reported they were disengaged.”

A stressful environment is not conducive to higher productivity for the students. Some UCSD graduates have succeeded in fields that had nothing to do with their studies. Students have to enjoy more of the learning environment instead of suffering from the pressure of working and getting results. Finally, even with the pressure, we have to learn not to be disappointed and demoralized by every setback in order to find more long-term success. 

—  MARCUS THUILLIER Senior Staff Writer

With Proper Management, Stress Improves Students’ Energy Levels

For lots of students at UCSD, their health isn’t a huge priority. Many students have pulled an all-nighter in the last few weeks during the thick of midterms season. Too often is personal well-being placed on the backburner. In a survey conducted by the Associated Press and MTV for college students, it was found that 85 percent of students feel stressed out every day. No surprise there. As a result, universities are overloaded with twitchy students who constantly veer near the edge of a nervous breakdown. 

Fortunately, some stress can actually have a positive impact on student health when managed properly. On NBC News, psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Tan of Montefiore Medical Center stated that successful people are able to take stress and turn it into positive, high-energy emotion. The key is to avoid permanent or prolonged exposure to stress. If a situation provoking constant cortisol spikes is not furthering an individual’s path to a happier and healthier future, they should not put up with it. 

Resources at UCSD, such as The Zone, Counseling and Psychological Services and therapy fluffies offer important programs for helping students manage stress. Exercise, meditation, diet and regular sleep are all useful mechanisms for transforming stress into productivity. However, this alone is not enough. Students must feel positively supported through their endeavors. Ultimately, it’s up to the campus culture to promote the mentality that students are worthy of rest and relaxation, regardless of academic standing or bullets on their resume.

—  CASSIA POLLOCK Opinion Editor

Negative Effects of Workaholism Should Not Be Underestimated

Workaholism is like a disease, that thrives as a plague at UCSD. Just look at the overcrowded lecture halls and the volume of students that Geisel Library attracts at this point in the quarter.

However, such stress is not to be taken lightly. Studies have shown that stress can lead to a multitude of damning side effects. These include strengthening cancer cells, shrinking the brain in regions associated with physiological and emotional functions, welcoming depression, raising the risk of strokes and of acquiring chronic diseases. Most students probably take illnesses seriously when they appear, but too often stress is not viewed in association with these illnesses when it should be.

UCSD students are not always oblivious to such risks. According to a 2010 National College Health Association Survey, 60 percent of students sampled said that the past 12 months resulted in an amount of stress that was either “more than average” or “tremendous.” They have requested information and resources for stress reduction and anxiety management. However, while UCSD has a plethora of resources available, the data doesn’t lie: It’s not enough. A majority of students are suffering from stress — something that is easily mitigated.

It might be tempting to lock oneself up in Geisel for the academic year, but a college education is not worth the cost of one’s physical and mental health. There are often severe consequences for long periods of exposure to stress. Please be sure to take care of yourselves, especially during midterms.

—  JORDAN UTLEY-THOMSON Staff Writer