It’s no secret that Uni students are stressed out. Multiple surveys, such as last year’s freshman stress letters, have shown that it is an all too prevalent problem, and can have serious effects on their mental and physical health. However, nothing seems to be done about it- what should be the next step for Uni?
When students offered their ideas about what Uni should do to address the problem of stress, two themes emerged: First, they want teachers to communicate better. Second, they want Uni to encourage a more amicable and less competitive environment among the student body.
Students complain that because of their teachers’ lack of communication, tests and assignments aren’t spaced out as well as they should be. As a result of their teachers making due dates without considering their what’s going on in their other classes, students often face an overwhelming workload with many tests and due dates compressed into a small amount of time.
Ethan Roberts, a freshman, claimed that he had “a math test on Monday, French test on Tuesday, and now a Biology test on Friday, and an essay due on Wednesday”.
Additionally, numerous students were upset that their teachers don’t use the Test Calendar, which is meant for teachers to upload their test dates to and space them out so their students don’t face several tests from different classes in a short amount of time. Junior Reed Broaders complained, “Teachers don’t use the calendar, so half the time they don’t even know that there are four different tests that day,” and suggested that “if the teachers actually paid attention to the calendar, then there would be a lot less stress, because they would be cognizant of the tests and all the big projects we have due on certain days”.
Members of all grades had similar ideas on how Uni might address this issue- subfreshman Jaewoon Jung suggested that “teachers working together more might help,” and senior Sasha Rushing asserted that Uni needs to “take a serious look at how scheduling works at Uni and how tests get scheduled”. Sophomore Dina Hashash added, “If teachers could communicate with each other so we don’t have a lot of things one week or even on just one day, that’d be great”.
Additionally, students saw several issues with the environment at Uni and wished for changes to be made.
Senior Mary Walker felt that many of these issues arise during subbie year, and that attempting to prevent them from emerging as early as possible would be worthwhile. She said, “A lot of the stress comes from student pressure, like student body pressure”. She added, “I feel like addressing things like stress and healthy competition levels between peers, and positive coping mechanisms, addressing that subbie year- I think that would be really helpful”.
Stefania Dzhaman, a sophomore, also saw a problem with the competition levels between students. “Uni should encourage students to help each other,” and “try to work together more,” says Stefania. Students can easily forget that they’re on the same team and that they shouldn’t be afraid to provide support to one another- Uni could take a step in the right direction by encouraging this idea more.
Ms. Arnold also gave her opinion on what Uni should do to address the problem of stress, and interestingly, it was much different from students’ answers. She thought that “making it more part of the culture that it’s okay to take a break” would be an important step for Uni to take. Additionally, she wants Uni to encourage students that “we really value you holistically, not just for your intelligence, but just making sure that you as a whole person are okay”. This raises the question of whether taking a break would lead to falling behind in school- students may fear the consequences of taking a much-needed mental break. Perhaps if Uni could make it easier for students to take time to make sure that they’re doing all right mentally, students could benefit from it.
The Uni community has several ideas about how Uni could help lessen the problem of stress among students. If Uni could take some of these steps and make changes to address the problem, students would greatly appreciate it.