With the latest rash of campus shootings and suicides, students may wonder what can cause someone to reach their breaking point. The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Prevention indicates students perpetrate 70 percent of violent incidents on campus with often overwhelming stress as a precursor.
Students, especially upon the start of a new semester are inundated with a variety of stressors. Many are leaving home for the first time, adapting to living with a stranger, trying to figure out schedules, campus logistics, not to mention homework, exams and socialization in between.
The American Association of Suicidology reported youth suicides rank third in the leading cause of death for ages 15-24. Of that same group, homicide comes in second place. The biggest prevention to a meltdown can be a combination of awareness and taking a proactive approach.
“We do a lot of workshops and we’re very, very tuned in to when a student is going over the edge,” said Jacqueline Carson Health Services Coordinator of Monroe Community College.
Students are not the only ones subject to campus stress. Professors, workers, and administrators are affected by new classes, new students and new problems. With the demographics of the campus changing from year to year, no one is immune to the stress factor.
“Our goal here is to make each student an advocate for their own health care,” Carson said. Once a person takes responsibility for their care, they become independent and more in control. The first step towards that control is realizing how important a balance can be.
Diet, exercise, work, and socialization needs to be kept in balance in order to maintain a healthy existence. If a student devotes too much time towards homework or engages in a high percentage of party activities, those actions are bound to have ramifications on the whole body.
“It’s about putting you in a comfort zone,” MCC Student Caleb Irwin said. If you break down homework into chunks, you can work on each piece one at a time. This way it’s not so overwhelming. Irwin also suggests exercise, since it uses a lot of pent up energy.
MCC offers open hours at both the PAC Center and in the Human Performance Lab. Since both offer a variety of exercise venues, a person can individualize their workout, making them more likely to continue.
Other ways to de-stress on campus can include doing an activity that was enjoyable as a child, such as coloring and playing games. Taking a course for fun instead of academic need can also be liberating. From stress management to kayaking, MCC offers a multitude of opportunities to earn credit while having fun.
In October and November, the Office for Student Life and Leadership Development is offering a workshop on stress management. In December, the Campus Activity Board is hosting a craft event where students can make their own stress ball.
There are several places to turn to when feeling overwhelmed by stress. Health Services located in building 3-165 can offer counseling and medications, if needed. They work with a broad referral base if a person’s needs can’t be met on campus.
The Counseling and Advising Center, located in building 1-231 has qualified professionals that offer personal counseling, help with time management and more. Lifeline, a Rochester based 24-hour hotline, can be reached at: 275-5151.