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?
Confessions From a Residence Director on Move-In Day
How is it possible that the day has arrived? Move in day. When every parent feels anxious, every student feels both nauseous and invigorated and the Residence Director, Lord have mercy, is about to pee her pants.
Oh and I have been there. (Quick clarification, no, there hasn’t been any literal pants -wetting yet in my career). I absolutely love having students on campus, and feeling the energy that they bring, but it is the day I’ve been working toward all summer.. it can feel like jumping off a forty foot cliff into water below. You know it’s going to happen, but as you work up the courage to face the challenge you suddenly feel like screaming like a small child.
If you are an event planner, teacher, construction worker, florist … you name it … I am sure there is some aspect of your job that allows you to relate.
So I have assembled a list that in my experience, helps me in the crunch time:
- Breathe and smile – both activities remind you to do what your body already wants you to. Just relax and little bit and remember to see the joy in what you are doing. Sometimes the stress can overshadow the fact that I absolutely love what I do. Smiling through it is key.
- Communicate: With your team? Your boss? The students? Sure – but what I am actually referring to is communication with the dear ol’ parents. After an entire week of never answering a phone call due to your brain almost imploding, right during move in is right when they’d call to make sure you’re still alive.
- Watch a hilarious viral youtube video the day before: Strange? Well, today I found that constantly quoting, “Ain’t nobody got time for that” over and over with my students was the best way to beat the stress. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Watch this with student leaders – the remix will get stuck in your head guaranteed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udS-OcNtSWo
- Don’t assign someone to live in a kitchen: Yup it happens to the best of us .. and by that I mean .. it happened to me last year. I have my excuses, but in the end a student was led to the kitchen by a helpful RA, and immediately escorted that student back to me. I’m sure later on he realized that living in the kitchen might have been great for all nighters, but he was okay that I assigned him somewhere else last minute instead.
- Surround yourself with awesome people: Amazing student leaders, student services staff, and fantastic students and parents made everything run really smoothly. What would I have done without them?
So that is my list of how to get through the epic work days.
What are the ways you cope through the “that day is TODAY?” kind of days?