Student Crisis: Anxiety

One of the many challenges facing a student is to try and handle anxiety. Everyone will be subjected to anxiety at least once in their life, and it can be a terrible experience. Anxiety stems from a wide variety of factors, not only from exams, or from juggling between studies and work. Some people are able to control that state of stress, others cannot overcome it. The problem occurs when this stress becomes counterproductive.

Stress can be a source of strength: sometimes it helps us reach the goals we have set for ourselves. As students, we often get anxious when we are going to be evaluated, and this apprehension can drive us to study and succeed. It can also help us focus on the subject, and even try to go into greater detail and do extra research.

Stress can also be challenging, and it is sometimes hard to overcome. It can be an obstacle in our lives, thus affecting our studies and our mental state. As students, we have all been subjected, one day, to some sort of anxiety crisis that troubled us during an exam, making us forget the courses we knew by heart, or preventing us from managing our time. It can also make us stutter during oral exams, making us forget our words. Therefore, one of the things we should learn, as soon as possible, is how to handle that stress so it does not become our biggest weakness.

We all noticed during our years at university that one of the main triggers to anxiety in our lives is the outcome of our work, not only our grades or our appreciations, but also to what job it will lead us. This fear of not knowing what tomorrow will bring can be destabilizing. Some of us are not sure what they will do next while others are not sure how to succeed in what they want to do.

We carried out a survey about anxiety at university in March 2017. It was first conceived for students from L1 to M2 who attended English courses, and the goal was to know how many students were subjected to anxiety or stress. In one week, two hundred people answered the survey, among whom a hundred and ninety-nine were subjected to stress. Their first source of stress were exams (59,4%), their second was homework and classes (22,8%), and their third was having to reconcile their job with their study (8,6%). 72,5% of them said that they were also subject to anxiety, 54,5% affirmed that they already had had panic attacks, and 28,5% admitted that it went as far for them as depression. The most striking aspect of this survey was the amount of students who felt good about being asked about their condition: anxiety and stress are subjects they felt should be tackled more, thus they were pleased with the creation of this survey. Some students suggested that there should be a counselor available in the university for times of crisis, other proposed to create a support committee which would help people in need and show them that anxiety can be overcome.

Keywords: anxiety, stress, handling anxiety, studying.

APPENDIX: SURVEY’S QUESTIONS

  • What year are you in?
  • Have you already experienced stress?
  • With what frequency?
  • What is your main source of stress?
  • Have you ever suffered from anxiety?
  • If yes, in what situation?
  • Have you ever had panic attacks?
  • If yes, in what situation and with what frequency?
  • Have you ever gone into depression because of stress?
  • If yes, could you explain more?
  • Would you like to add something (experience, advise, details, remarks, opinion, etc.)?