Freshmen face many pressures

Freshmen entering college this year suffer from more stress than ever before, according to a recent study.

An annual University of California at Los Angeles survey shows that female freshmen are more stressed than males. It also indicates that economic and social concerns are leading factors to the elevated stress levels.

The fall 1999 results show that about 30 percent of freshmen feel frequently overwhelmed by all (they) have to do, according to a press release by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. In the 1985 study, 16 percent of students said they felt stressed.

Our whole society is experiencing a lot of stress, said Robert J. Wilson, assistant director of educational services at GW’s Counseling Center.

Financial and academic pressure, as well as the uncertainty of interpersonal relationships, are main concerns in students’ lives, he said.

(Students) must face the sheer weight of saying, `OK, it’s up to me to decide what I have to do, Wilson said. More students are seeking help and using the services available to them than ever before, he said.

The study also shows that female freshmen felt more overwhelmed than freshman male students. The survey showed that about 39 percent of female freshmen compared to 20 percent of males are exposed to heavy stress.

Freshman Brett Kaplan, said he defies the stereotype of college men being less stressed than women. Juggling work, school and his fraternity life are his main sources of stress, he said.

Male and female students use GW’s counseling facilities equally, Wilson said.

While some freshmen said they would like to get involved with community service, they said other stressful factors dominate their list of priorities.

College freshmen also volunteer less for their communities than in previous years, according to the study. Only about 36 percent of freshmen said they think community service is important to influence social values, the lowest mark since 1986.

Freshman Amelia Potter works 12 hours a week and said getting involved is the least of her college worries.

I’d like to be involved more, but I work, and I’m really busy, Potter said.

Freshman Amanda Mathison said school work and money dictate college life.

Some freshmen said they have balanced various elements of college life to create as little stress as possible.

Freshman Mike Nalls said stress in college is like any other part of life, and management is the key.

You just get your work done, he said. It’s like a job.

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