Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Reality of Student Financial Stress

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I work in Financial Aid, which basically means I see a lot of stressed out students.

If you work with college or university students, there is no doubt that you see it too. There is a good reason for the panic stricken faces I see – reports of increases in tuition run rampant across Canada and the US. In just the past two years public universities have increased tuition by almost 10%. The number and size of student loans is also increasing. Researchers have found that financial stress can be impede academic performance and can be a trigger for mental health problems including depression and anxiety.

The stakes are high, that’s what makes this is interesting:

A study done in the UK, and replicated again at the University of Toronto found that there was no correlation for student debt and financial stress. It was the perception of debt that caused stress. Students who report worrying about future debt, or overestimated their debt upon graduation were more likely to experience the adverse effects of financial stress.

Why is this important?

If you can impact a student’s perception of his or her debt, you can impact his or her stress levels as well. If you are working with college or university students and notice increased stress or hear students talk about financial pressure, it may be a good idea to sit down with them and do some financial planning. Students who know exactly how much debt they have, and understand the steps they need to take to eliminate that debt report being less stressed, and perform at their best.

I have been doing research on student stress and thought that this was too important not to share. Have you noticed student stress due to finances?

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Christmas Spirit

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The Christmas party for residence students was coming up, and I figured I would have to bring my A game.

So Sunday night I thought, “Enough of the laziness! Why do I always buy store bought goods for student events! Baking! I must do some baking!” So I headed to the heartland of baking inspiration: Pinterest. (Where I learn all mediocre bakers either thrive or suffer .. you’ll see where I end up.) So I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, a lovely recipe that is following the trend of putting chocolate covered ooey gooey deliciousness at the end of a stick. The recipe proclaimed, “It’s so easy! Best snack ever! Takes less time than tying your shoes!”

So here I go through the process:

Step 1: Make batter and roll into nice little balls.

Step 2: Realize I forgot to add salt, which would explain the explosion of sickly sweetness that happens in my mouth when I sneak a bit of the dough

Step 3: Coax the batter back into the mixer, add salt, repeat step one. Next, I stab each cookie dough ball with wooden skewer (great tension reliever!)

Step 4: Place the bakers chocolate in the microwave on high for two minutes as packaging suggests. Leave kitchen.

Step 5: Return to kitchen 2 minutes later to see a microwave emitting plumes of rancid smoke.

Step 6: Yell at unsuspecting fiance for help as I desperately try to open doors and windows, as not to suffocate, and die.

Step 7: Cry a little.

Step 8: Melt new chocolate with paranoid supervsion.

Step 9: Dip each freaking cookie dough ball in chocolate. Then try to clean up all the chocolate I spilled off the counters, floors, walls, face, hands, and neck.

Step 10: Marvel at the beautiful masterpiece I created.

Baking!

In the end the Christmas All-Rez was a huge success. We had a fantastic costume contest full of lumberjacks, video game characters, Mrs. Claus, and even an adult sized baby Jesus. We had a festive photo booth, hot chocolate bar, and snacks everywhere. Best part of the night? A compliment on my stress inducing, yet somehow stress relieving chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. 😀 Hooray!

What I thought I would have to do is plan the best event to make the students happy, in the end I realized that the students are hilarious, spontaneous, and fun loving all on their own. I can leave my stress at the door and just enjoy their company and laugh with them. And that’s what I did. What a great night it was!

To close, check out the amazing photo I ended up getting with some of my favourite people ever, my RA crew!

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