Super stress: Millennials are feeling the burn

By: Duke Staff

Many students know the feeling — it’s 2 a.m. on a Monday night, and your body is complaining as you fight desperately to finish your 10-page philosophy paper. You have two tests this week that you’ve barely had time to study for because you work part-time to afford tuition. You have a group project due Wednesday that seems to have fallen entirely on your shoulders. School is so expensive that you know you can’t fail any classes, because that would mean another semester’s worth of student loans.

It’s no wonder that Millennials are the most stressed-out generation in recent history, as the American Psychological Association recently reported. According to the APA study, the term “Millennials” includes those currently between ages 16 and 36. Approximately 60 percent of this demographic attended college or is currently in college.

As the fall semester begins in earnest, it is crucial for students to recognize the signs of stress and work to prevent it from interfering with their learning and social life. It is also necessary that Duquesne’s faculty and staff continue to show understanding toward the impact of stress on students.

Currently, the Center for Student Wellbeing offers opportunities for students to manage anxiety and stress through counseling, meditation and even physical exercise. As helpful as these programs are, there is more that faculty should be aware of to help their students manage stress.

Every student has had at least one professor who sees herself or himself as “your only professor.” You know the type. They assign weekly homework that includes five hours worth of reading, a journal entry that must be submitted through Blackboard every Tuesday and Thursday, and they refuse to move exams or due dates for any reason. To students, these professors seem to believe that they are the only professor teaching the only class at the university. For those at Duquesne taking 18 credits or more, these professors are the sources of many sleepless nights.

Of the nine editors at The Duke, five of us hold a part-time job during the school year, in addition to the work we do for The Duke, which often takes more than 15 hours a week on its own. For other students, their time is consumed by Greek Life, the SGA, Strong Women Strong Girls, Pure Thirst and other student organizations. These extracurricular events are a vital part of making friends and building a support group on campus, as well as necessary resume-boosters, but they all take time. A lot of time. And don’t even get us started on unpaid internships.

The stakes are higher for students now than they were 20 years ago. As college costs have risen, so have the consequences of doing poorly on assignments and exams. Now failing a class means graduating late or paying more than $3,000 to take that class over the summer. In an increasingly competitive job market, GPA matters more than ever.

This all adds up to some very stressed-out, anxiety-ridden, caffeine-fueled students struggling to keeps their heads above water. We know that college is a place to work hard and be challenged. We are not asking professors to “go easy on us” or dilute the excellent education we are receiving. We only ask that professors be mindful of the jobs, internships, clubs and activities that demand our time in addition to our classes and add to our stress. With the help of faculty and staff, we can minimize the effects of stress on this year’s students.