This is a very rough draft of my next feature story. This one is about anxiety and stress in college students.
Exams. Group projects. Research papers. Extracurricular activities. College can be one of the most stressful times of your life. Between balancing school with extracurriculars and a job, we are constantly under the pressure of success against all odds.
Although the stress is taxing, could it actually be helping prepare us for the future?
Multimedia journalist, Jetske Wauran, works at KMEG 14 and FOX 44 in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. Her daily life consists of interviewing people, writing a story, shooting that story, editing it, and fronting it for the five o'clock news. She says the looming deadlines make her feel as if she's writing a senior thesis 24/7.
"In college my mind was racing," she says. "But for me work work is more stressful because of the short deadlines."
For many, success is viewed from the lens of perfectionism. This is instilled in students from a young age. Report cards are handed out and A's are given gold-star treatment while D's are questioned on their motivation. For Wauran, she had to learn that, while her stories need to be well thought out and executed, perfectionism goes out the window when you have thirty-minutes until showtime and still need to record a voiceover for your package.
Sitting in upper level classes, the sound of the junior and senior season is "C's get degrees." The stress of freshman and sophomore years has vanished for many and now it is time to think about the workforce.
For education major Claire Wroblewski her stress doesn't come from the classes themselves, but rather from what they are preparing her for.
"I want the lesson plans I am writing to be just right," she says. That causes stress and anxiety, but she says that motivates her to work harder and smarter in order to be better under pressure.
Major certainly plays a role in the amount of stress or anxiety a student feels. While the classes within their major could cause stress, if they are forced outside of their comfort zone, the stress becomes greater.
Pre-med student Cody Hankerson says that European Civilizations stresses him out, because it is not the kind of analytical thinking he is used to. This can be the case for many students involved in a liberal arts education. They have selected a major they feel comfortable in, but are moved outside of their comfort zone for classes that go against their everyday thought process.
Stress and anxiety in college students is not simply the next exam or due date. It is the looming future hanging over them like a dark cloud. They are preparing themselves for the workforce and some of them are already in the workforce and balancing it with their academic life. Finding a balance and a routine can be the hardest part of living the college life.
Millennials, however, are still optimistic and hopeful that they will make it to their future unscathed.