Proposal to Lower Stress levels at the University of New Hampshire
What Happens to Students entering College?
Entering into college is a special landmark in a person’s life and can be the keys to many successful opportunities. People enrolled in college are among a select few in the world given the opportunity to help increase their financial prospects as well as student’s skill set. As of today obtaining a college degree has become especially important to have as high education is becoming the minimum requirement to secure a position in many different fields. Moving onto a college campus gives many students the chance to interact and with multiply different cultures and communities they might never see else and diversify their view on the world around them. Along with new experiences also comes undesirable obstacles that many students must face through college. For some students at one point or another, high levels of stress and anxiety will negatively impact their lives. These stressors can be directly connected to the new academic life style that now places future success or failures entirely in their own hands. Many of these students are not equipped to properly handle this and in need of support from the school. The University of New Hampshire can do this by being more proactive and providing early education and guidance to students in need.
The American College Health Association found that the number one issues on college campuses is mental health (Wyckoff). These mental health issues stem from new find stressors at college and is a primary issue that the University of New Hampshire needs to deal with (Wyckoff). College is seen as a very intimidating place for people as this is a place of higher education and requires years of hard work to complete. The problem at the University of New Hampshire is the decline in mental health of many students which starts as early as some students first year of college. Many of these new students coming in are unprepared for the new workload and are in need of guidance.
Where Does This Stress Come from?
As soon as a student moves into a dorm at college, an undergraduate student’s whole life style changes. They are now seen as an independent person who is fully responsible for the choices and actions made everyday, as well as the consequences that come along with them. For many students, the college dorm is the first time many people experience living outside of a home without any form of parent supervise. This can be an overwhelming experience for many college students as transitioning into an unknown area alone can be difficult. An unfamiliar social setting is one of the stresses that could creep into the back of students heads (Dougall). The feeling of homesickness can have different effects on many students, but never the less cause them stress.
Many students unknowingly create new stressors on themselves as they choose to make irresponsible decisions with the new found freedom experienced on a college campus. Numerous college students are the victims to FOMO, or fear of missing out, and would rather spend the majority of the week relaxing, drinking, and partying rather than homework or studying (Alt). Stressors like this very easily lead to sleeping disorders which stem from irregularities in the brain. These irregularities are the direct cause of the increased stress and anxiety levels and lead to a poor mental health. There sleeping disorders can become severe enough that it can require treatment completely separate from the initially mental disorder. Usually sleep disorders stem from many college student’s academic life (Mirsa). Their stress can come from one or multiple sources and many of this can go unchecked without awareness.
How Does This Hurt the University of New Hampshire?
The overall health of the student is important for the school as I can give a university a completely different view. The poor mental health directly leads to an increase in sleep and eating disorders which usually rise in undergrads (Jensen). Poor Students when a poorer mental health have been shown to make more reckless chooses (Drum). Reckless decision making along with complete freedom given to students on a college campus can have very dangerous consequences. Students are very likely to drink at uncontrolled levels which has a number of negative effects as 600,000 students a year have injured themselves while under the influence of alcohol (Wyckoff). High level of drinking are usually seen in school with high rates of partying which reflects poorly in the eyes of parents sending their kids to school. Another reason this poor mental health can adversely affect the school's image is that they directly led to most dropout reasons. Dropping out do to overwhelming stress is responsible for 54% of all dropouts after which most will not re enroll (Crossley). At the University of New Hampshire only 79.7% of student’s graduate will the other 20.3% don’t and the majority (20%) of these students are one that dropped out while only about 1% are still enrolled (University).
One of the worst effects that high levels of stress can have on students is the increase in suicidal thoughts. In recent years there has been increase in suicidal tendencies in first-year students. Studies showed that students with low coherence and connectedness with their peers have much higher suicidal behaviors be the end of their first semester (Drum). It goes without saying that in the extreme cases where a student takes their own life, the school’s image would be under serious review as parents do not wish to send their children to a place they feel could put emotional stability in danger. It can have major impact on enrollment rates for years to come after the incident.
What Other Schools Have Tried
It has recently become a new trend by schools to try and help lower the stress of their students with a number of new ideas. The University of Wake Forest decided to take action on their campus by remodeling their quad into a more public leisure spot for students as the school had recently found that a third of the campus had felt depressed and 8% of students had serious considered suicide (Howard). After this change they found that many students had found this fun new place as a space to unplug and reconnect with other students in a safe environment (Howard). Other schools like Harvard and Santa Clara University tried using meditation courses during the semester which students felt lowered stress compared to those who didn’t during peak stress periods (Howard). These methods seem useful in helping to lower and keep down stress and anxiety students feel at an affordable rate for the schools.
Proactive Education as a Solution for UNH
Stress roughly affects everyone on this campus in one way or another and many of those people are unsure on how to deal with it. Many of these students are fresh out of high school and have little to no knowledge on how to deal with the tremendous new stress they feel while having to be newly independent. They best decision to deal with this problem is to educated students of their new lifestyle and provide guidance on how to handle stress and mental health. The best course of action would to introductory students early with a mandatory course on the first semester for freshman that educates them on skills like time management, identifying stressors, and how to properly deal with and get help for their stress and anxiety. This would most likely not cost the school and money since they will not need to build any new buildings or classrooms. Along with this, there are a number of professors on this campus who would be qualified to teach and help many incoming students along with their guidance counselor.
Another system that could be used to educated students is the kognito online program. Kognito that uses online simulators to educated people on a number of different real life social situation and provide practice in how to properly deal with them (Friend). This program cost about $2 per person on average which is incredibly inexpensive for the school. An increase in students that are educated on the right way to deal with stress and mental health will improve overall mental health on this campus.
Cost for every student on campus: 21,701 * 2 = $43,402 (Admissions)
In conclusion, stress is a major problem on this campus that needs to be solved. Some people would say that the stress college students fell is an important part in developing students into functioning adults (Misra). On the other hand this is seen as one of the largest rise problem for college students that can easily be addressed. This can be done by educating students how to properly receive help and guidance on campus. Informing the many staff members on campus from professors and advisors to hall directors and RAs. Providing students with the tools to succeed will given many undergrads help not only in college, but in life. High levels of stress at college are not uncommon and many students need to know that they are not alone. This is important for the school to look into as this problem will not go away on it’s own and will benefit both the school and its students if done correctly.
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