Approaching exams elevate anxiety and stress for students

With registration in full swing and finals nearing, stress and anxiety are beginning to stir around Sonoma State University. These demanding events truly take their toll on students. The Sonoma State campus has been sure to have extra resources available during this crucial time for students to destress. These resources include destress and creative arts and stress reduction workshops. These workshops allow students to relax and unwind while also helping them stay true to themselves and not letting stress and anxiety take over their lives.

“It is important to set practical goals for ourselves in the areas of self care, outlets, and relaxation to help reduce stress and anxiety,” said Brianna Bjarnson, the coordinator of a destress workshop held on campus.

The 2015 National College Health Assessment Survey found that nearly one in six college students had been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety. Stress can be caused by many different factors, and the pressures of college life can have an overwhelming impression on young adults. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, college students can easily feel anxious trying to balance school, work, friends and family while also trying to figure out their future. 

College life can be a lot to juggle and it’s a natural reaction to become intensely anxious and stressed at times. On a survey given by the same organization, 30 percent of college students said stress had negatively affected their academic performance. Every student wants to get the most out of their college experience, so it’s important to have the right tools to cope.

Tiana Harris, a junior at Sonoma State said she endured an overwhelming amount of anxiety during her finals week last semester. Harris is a biology major, a member of the Sapphires dance team, an active member of Alpha Xi Delta and a part-time nanny. Juggling school, extracurriculars and work can be challenging especially when it’s a critical time in multiple of the areas of her life. Harris said that it’s generally easy to control, but last semester when she experienced her first panic attack, her life felt anything but manageable.

“It was late at night when I was stressing about school and dance when I suddenly felt as though I could not breathe or speak. I felt an intense need to leave my house,” Harris said. During the panic attack she felt scared and vulnerable but later learned that what she experienced is normal to many people with an anxiety disorders. In fact, a few of her friends have experienced a similar panic attack. 

The ADAA states that 75 percent of adults with an anxiety disorder experience their first anxiety related episode at age 22 which isn’t far from the age at which Harris had hers.

It’s easy for college students to feel alone and unsupported during times of anxiety, but there are many tools that students can utilize to feel more relaxed. Sonoma State’s Counseling and Psychological Services, has numerous resources available to students when they are enduring stress and anxiety, especially during exam periods. Some of these resources include meditation and an anxiety and depression skills group. Unfortunately CAPS was too busy to comment or conduct an interview on this subject, and instead will provide insight in the fall.

For more information about CAPS and the services they provide visit their website at www.sonoma.edu/counselingctr.