Students are stressed — but they’re not all worried about it. Juggling multiple papers, racing to an internship, clocking in 30-hour work weeks and attending Greek Life meetings is just the Chapman way of life.
“I’ve been a pretty anxious person for most of my life, so stress is a little bit my normal,” said Henry Rhinehart, a junior psychology major.
That’s the real enigma: pinpointing at what point in time stress became so normalized among college students. University Primetime ranked Chapman No. 13 of its “Top 50 Colleges With The Most Stressed Out Student Bodies” last year.
“I don’t think you can pin it on the level of schoolwork, because to be quite honest, I’m not asking as much of my students as my professors had asked of me,” said sociology professor Lemuel Day.
Day said that social media is the only main difference between his generation and this generation. Lives are more publicized — and that includes failures and successes. Maintaining a polished online persona may have a correlation between the increased pressure to succeed.
“More is being asked of (students) in other areas outside of class,” Day said. “Community service, internships and things. Inside of class, no. You’re not being asked to do more.”
More students are employed year-round in 2016 compared to the 1950s, when most college students just worked summer jobs, according to a 2015 report from Georgetown’s University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report also found that 40 percent of college undergraduates hold a job. Tara Schrock, a junior English major, works 40 hours a week, and Rhinehart works 30 hours a week.
But these students didn’t blame social media as the reason for their stress. Some linked it to self-sabotage.
“Honestly, I think I did it to myself,” Schrock said. “I’m a person who’s motivated by time and I am able to crank out a lot of work in a short amount of time but I can’t space it out.”
Many students react to the stress by procrastinating. Admitting that they have multiple papers to write was often followed by laughter.
“I was honestly writing a final paper on the way to the Renaissance fair on a Saturday, right before it was due,” said Sara McComb, a sophomore English major.
McComb admitted that the challenge of waiting until the deadline is a thrill. Carly Cantiberos, a junior business administration major, also admitted to recently waiting until 10 minutes before the midnight deadline to send in a paper. But for Cantiberos, the last-minute move wasn’t a test of her academic prowess; she just dislikes writing essays.
There is a gray area when it comes to stress inducers: mental illnesses. Rhinehart described it as a “chicken and egg” situation.
“I have bipolar disorder too, so some of the time, it’s hard to tell if my mental health is being affected by stress, or if the stress is being caused by my mental health,” Rhinehart said.
Sean Shiramizu, a senior business administration major, sorts out everything he needs to do by looking at the bigger picture. Shiramizu does not pressure himself to hang out with friends and balance other activities all at once. Instead, he forgets everything else and puts schoolwork first.
“It’s not rocket science. At the end of the day, it’s just what’s more important,” Shiramizu said.