By Nikki Moylan
College students today are under immense amounts of pressure, according to a 2015 survey conducted by the American College Health Association which found that almost 16% of those interviewed had been diagnosed with, or treated for, anxiety.
So many things are common factors that contribute to anxiety, like being able to handle classes, meeting new friends, and also trying to figure out your place in the world.
This week I interviewed Katharine Brooks, who has worked over 30 years with college students in various roles ranging from professor, counselor, career counselor and adviser for students with disabilities. She is also the author of recently revised “You Majored in What? Designing Your Path From College To Career.” The book is more of a self-help guide for students in the liberal arts majors who don’t always have a concrete path.
She says writing the book is ironic because “It’s supposed to ease the fear that can come with the job search.”
Brooks also says “College students are going through a lot of changes. There is the stress of getting into college, then the stress of leaving home (and friends and family) to attend a new school, the stress of the difficult college-level courses, the desire to “fit in” — and the fear that you won’t. For some students, the transition is easy and smooth; for others, the path has lots of challenges. And then, of course, there is the stress of what to do after graduation.”
Social media also plays a role in adding to anxiety and stress. Sites like Instagram and Facebook can fuel insecurities and make you compare your life to your friends.
What mental disorders can seriously affect those at work or in college?
“It’s not uncommon for anxiety to join up with depression. The two emotions often feed on each other, which can make it particularly hard for students to keep with coursework, or for adults to succeed at work. If you’re feeling all charged up but at the same time can’t focus or get going, chances are you’re dealing with both depression and anxiety. It’s like trying to drive a revving car engine when you’re in park,” Brooks says.
Who should people talk to if they need help in their workplace?
Brooks advises workers to try the EAP program managed by the Human Resources department. Programs offered by insurance programs should also be checked out. Other ways to find help is to read, keeping a journal, or finding ways to stay active.