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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stress on College Students


Two new reports leave a question: Are college students too stressed out? Or are they just fooling around?


I am very interested in your feedback to this article or the radio show linked.

(From NPR's "On Point", click here to listen to the show)

Two sets of headlines were published recently on American college students. One set said college kids today are barely studying, and barely learning. The other set said they’re more stressed out than ever. Those sound contradictory.

So what’s going on?

Click on "read more" below.


The country needs a new generation of sharp college grads to march out of school and save the nation. College students need an education to prepare them for success, and an economy to make it possible. Is any of this happening? Is enough of it happening?
For the students, for the country, we ask what’s going on at college.

Is there "less learning going on" on college campus's? There is a 50% drop in the average amount of time students spend studying. The number of non-credit remediary courses and students attending those courses are up dramatically.

A large percentage of students, 35%,  admit that they study less than 5 hours a week, while carrying full time loads. Those same students had an average 3.16 GPA. So are schools preparing students for college and the habits needed for college? Are colleges that give good grades to students who do not put it the study, research and higher investigative skills robbing us of a well educated society?

Are colleges reaching higher level learning skills, or are they forgetting the core function of developing skills and habits, and focusing only on specifics of a field of profession?

Students talk back to professors, refuse to read or turn in work on time, take little pride in their own work which they increasingly see as an exercise not applicable to "the real world." They have no concept of academic growth and learning for its own sake. They see school as hoops to get the high paying job they feel they deserve.

These are generalities and far from all inclusive, but interviews and studies support that these self centered demanding students are the rule and not the exception. They have no concept of or patience for "academic rigor."

Students feel that they are consumers and you should treat them as such, not as an applicant or apprentice. The system has given in to this and with privatization has even remolded education as a sales and consumer base, with job training and employment as the goal.

The "universal" knowledge or access of "universities" and their role in overall society are lost on most students today.

Are students too focused on the goal to take full advantage of the journey?

Are students under too much pressure to compete, to get into the good schools, to pay increasingly large amounts for their own education, to go into professions that pay well rather than where their hearts lie?

Are students losing the creative and cooperative fuel they need, trading it in for a personal "race" and to achieve goals that are set by money rather than love, passion, belief and social values?

Suicides are up. Marriage, and some say maturity, is waiting until later years as students "suffer through" rather than enjoy and grow through their college education.

Emotional health studies show that student come in stressed and graduated equally as stressed. Why? What pressure is on students of this generation than that not there for previous generations? Or have schools at all levels changed?

Full time jobs, large families, larger bills, time spent on computers or phones in their recreation, students with mortgages, fewer parents able to help with finances, decentralized on non-nuclear families and factors impacting the current day student in ways that may or may not be greater than in the past.

The pressure to succeed, to believe that the fields are what they were born to do, is there. They do not do research and entering thinking that things are like they are in movies or on television. Or they do not know how deep the needed skills are in math, English and other basics for school and for the professions they grew up being told they could enter and excel at.

They also believe that "wants" are "needs" and are unwilling to give up expensive "extras" like the best computers, cell phones, new cars, larger apartments or homes, privacy and what our society says is "Independence."

There are students who have never been to a library, and have never had to do academic work. They learn about sources, academic texts and journals in college, rather than being prepared before they enter school.

Modern students are always bombarded with information and messages and even seek noisy, cluttered and stressful environments as they "relax."

Will America be able to compete in the future?

Among guests on the program are:


Richard Arum, sociology and education professor at New York University. Co-Author of the new book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.”

John Pryor, director or the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA.

Debra Crisp, training Coordinator at Western Kentucky University’s Counseling and Testing Center. She also serves as one of the counselors there and teaches in the psychology department.

Jonathan Ernst, editor-in-chief of the University News, the school paper for St. Louis University.

Michelle Monroe, editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the paper for the University of Arizona.

(From NPR's "On Point", click here to listen to the show)



12 comments:

coastielema said...

What else should we expect after 20 years plus of everyone gets a trophy? I spent over twenty years in the military and have witnessed the same break-down within the military educational programs. I have even seen it get to the point where "Everyone Passed". You can only imagine the result felt in the field for such policies? It was so bad even the graduates were complaining!

From what I can tell, the issue of lazier students will only become more pronounced if standards continue to decline.

As for the stress factor...that will go up and down with economic situations.

Here's a quote from Walter Chrysler:

“Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.”

Vaso said...

Are college students stressed out or are they just fooling around ? I agree with both statements above . Being in college usually means that your at the age where life gets stressful even if your not attending school Your at that age where your responsible of paying bills, paying for school , keeping up a job , relationships etc. That usually causes alot of stress balancing all of those . I do however think that alot of college kids do fool around as in not study or do work to the best of there ability because some college studens think there social life is more important that school . Alot of college students also think that they are paying for school so if they dont want to show up for class or do there academic best they dont have to and think they deserve a good grade . Students also get side tracked with cell phone , internet etc and there not getting there school work done .

Symona Kitchen said...

What I find most interesting is that as the global marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, with today's employers expecting their employees to deliver more than ever before, the academic institutions responsible for producing these 'superstars' are witnessing a rapid decline in academic achievement and standards.

Unfortunately, we live in celebrity obsessed, consumer driven society where we the concept of delayed gratification does not exist anymore.

I would be interested to learn whether these reported stress levels are a product of difficulties the academic subject matter presents or the lack of immediate aesthetic or financial gratification from these endeavors. I fear it is the latter!!

Jael said...

I thinkg that a lot of college students do stressed out more because like Vaso said... we have to pay our bills, take care of our own issues, etc.
I think that a lot of college students do stressed out more because like Vaso said... we have to pay our bills, relationships, school, work, and take care of our own issues, etc.
Those students that are taking their education seriously are the ones that are stressed out more due to the fact that they want to excel in their classes and achieve an excellent GPA, but there are students that are not so serious about it and don’t really care about their grades beside passing the class with a passing grade. It just depends on the students.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the post above... I know for me school is important and my grades are even more important. I'm am one of those stressed out students, I have no social life as my kids, school and work take up all my time. So I think that those statements depend on what the students resposablitys are at home, work and in life. Then I'm sure you have the student that are out partying have no responsibilities and want to make it by easy...
But that's not all of us....
-Jessica Cardiel Com101

Leavittfamilyfun said...

Ha, my last post applies to this one as well! I believe both scenerios are going on and are dependant on several factors. Age, mindset, maturity, goals, responsibilities, habits, etc. my mindset has changed to an appreciation and excitement for learning and engaging brain activity as compared to 16 years ago when socializing was my only goal and a near sighted one at that. Some random thoughts . . . I see a concern for the lack of preperation in high school. There are too many teachers willing to give a passing grade in exchange for flirting, diet cokes, cookies. . . Bribes! Why does it bother me when all of Europe and parts of Asia are laughing at us?As for totalitarian education and learning, I found the book "dumbing us down" quite interesting.

Anonymous said...

While the amount of time spent studying and the value each person puts on their schooling certainly depends on the individual, as a whole we are not where we need to be in order to keep competing with the rest of the world. Many people in the states seem to feel like we are entitled to be a competitor simply because we're Americans; we don't seem to realize it is something that requires constant effort. It is like the first comment says, we have been giving out trophies to everyone to the point where we all believe we're special. Classes seem to have been dumbed down in many ways, and I've had more than one professor who is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure everyone passes; I feel like this is an extremely dumb thing to do, because not everyone deserves a passing grade. So while I'm sure there are a few college students stressing out about their studies, the majority has it easier nowadays.

-Anna Miriam Hardy

Anonymous said...

Madison Harper com 101 4044
I think they are both right. I personally have had a very stressful college experience. I played division one volleyball and had over 30 hours a week devoted to my sport plus traveling. I was too busy to study a lot and too stressed to properly pay attention in class.

Anonymous said...

I would generally agree that there is a decline most likely in hours studied and agree with that there is an increase in stress.

A lot of these factors that contribute to stress or academic success I believe are related to personal factors, as one person said. Age, maturity, goals, responsibilities, habits, reasons for attending college, reasons behind why you're major is your major.

I did some simple math for my entire weekly schedule for just absolutely required items in a day that I have to do to continue to survive eat, sleep, work etc... and it left about 8-10 hours in a day that could be used for studying. It feels like much less though, so maybe I'm missing something, keep in mind this accounted for no extracurricular or so called "fun" items. Granted I do use a lot of those extra hours to study, but some are for increasing my work knowledge, not just academic knowledge.

I find it analogous to a budget, while you have to budget for all your necessary bills, you need to also take the little bills or random expenditures into account. These little expenditures or little bills are like fun, you don't get a true picture of what is consuming your time or money without them.

Maybe some can be cut / removed to free up time but how does that affect stress..?

Ryan Clift
Com 101-4049

Anonymous said...

When did students shift from being students to being workers who are also going to school? Where is the priority? Learning or simply working toward a degree? Maybe the focus of students is wrong, and that is the source of stress and the perception of failure when in reality to fail is to learn and grow, and move on...

Britny Nieznanski 4049 said...

I do learn things in college, but I do not feel that i "get what i pay for", so to speak. I think classes like math, or the classes relevant to your major are extremely useful, but classes like Communications (no offense), or sociology, or psychology, I just don't know. Sure it's interesting to know, but I am not interested and do not really care, I'm just taking them because I "have" to. To be honest, I know so many people that are making so much more money than I will ever make, without a college education. It seems that the whole idea of college is becoming more and more useless. Hopefully I end up making enough money to cover my school debt, otherwise it will all be for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Students put stress on themselves. Instead of being open to learning in areas outside their comfort zone, they complain and blame others. All courses have value in life, and the time you put in will be returned in kind later. I think we put too much on ourselves (work, school, family, money) and create our own stress.