Student Fatigue Hampers Education|Southern Education Desk
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Seasonal fatigue among university students is nearing its annual peak.
In many classrooms attendance is well below capacity and anti—depressant prescriptions are up.
And professionals say there tends to be more treatment for stress among women.
ULM Students Cram at Campus Library
The thirty-five-year-old is struggling with a demanding course load and a full time job, and the unforgiving regimen has had a negative effect on her education.
She says that the end of semester stress and life pressures have pushed her into dropping her classes.
“I’m going to pull out of all of them because I’ve kind of gotten behind. And it would be easier to withdraw than try to catch up and get D’s. It would lower my grade point average.”
Student burnout is common at this time of year.
Final exams and term papers due dates are just around the corner, hot on the heels of mid-term results.
Despite the need for a final push by students, many classrooms are only half full.
A Princeton Review study revealed that 85 percent of students experience exam stress.
And a 2010 Virginia Tech study on college student fatigue reported that seven percent of visits to doctors were related to complaints of exhaustion.
At ULM, some students resort to medication.
Campus nurse practitioner Yolanda Camper explains.
“We do see an increase in, probably, anxiety-related medicine around this time; mostly the serotonin-reuptake inhibitors: Prozac, norepinephrine inhibitors, Lexipro and things like that, Wellbutrin.”
Yolanda Camper says the numbers of students seeking help for stress tends to show a gender imbalance.
“Females are always at an increase for anxiety because I think they actually are not afraid to seek help for it, more so than males are. So we do see probably more females than males.”
Keisha Polk says the anxiety has exacted a toll on her health.
“I have been so stressed that I have lost ten pounds in the last two months. You know, it really takes physical – you know for me it has.”
But while stress may be more visible in female students, it is not restricted to women.
Joshua Alleman is a mechanical engineering student at Louisiana Tech.
He’s satisfied with his performance this quarter, still he was not able to completely dodge anxiety.
“You stay up – there’s lots of nights that you’ll pull all-nighters, absolutely. It’s just common, especially in engineering because, man, it’s a tough curriculum.”
Leonard Clark is ULM’s department head of education leadership and counseling.
He says a trend of pushing students beyond educational pursuits is a major factor in skyrocketing stress.
“Students are now involved in so many more activities. There’s so much to suck up the energy in their day. And because they are involved in so many kinds of activities they don’t feel as rested for classes. That’s one thing that I’ve noticed. And they are also working jobs – sometimes two jobs.”
Clark says that the freshmen tend to be more susceptible to the rigors of university life.
But, according to Keisha Polk, there’s more than enough for every student at this time of year.
“At the beginning everything’s fresh. You know, you have that chance to either do good or try to catch up. And then whenever you do bad you pick up that extra pressure of trying to catch up. And that’s where the stress comes from.”
Student stress and fatigue are not likely to disappear from campus life.
But there could be some help on the way – at least for ULM students.
Dr. Leonard Clark says the university is in the beginning stages of studying why certain students fail to complete academic programs.
Clark says that a portion of those studies will likely examine student stress as a reason some drop out.