Finding Balance

According to “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014 Survey,” 9.5 percent of incoming college students frequently felt depressed during the past year. This figure has increased 6.1 percent over the past five years. Of the students surveyed, 34.6 percent felt overwhelmed. That is almost one in every three students feeling stressed out and overwhelmed.

College can make or break students when it comes to stress management. This skill isn’t listed on syllabi — it’s a consequence of the conditions of the educational system and the way the world works.

When you’re at school, professors will say, “There is nothing more important than your education.”

At work, you’ll hear about how the job experience you are currently getting will be the foundation for the rest of your life, and how success in your career is equivalent to success in life itself.

And, at home, you’ll hear that family comes first, no matter what.

Balancing school, work and life is something that students try to cope with every day on campuses across the country.

And some students are better at it than others.

Feeling depressed and overwhelmed can happen to anybody. Sometimes it’s the class clown who is struggling to cope and gets by using humor. Or it could be the stereotypical “brainiac,” who appears so well put together on the surface. Or it might be that student sitting beside you. Or it could be you.

If that’s the case, remember this:

1. Life is hard for all of us — school, work, and outside social obligations can add up fast —  so…
2. …We should all look out for each other, and…
3. …When we are feeling overwhelmed, we should never be afraid to seek help.

We can hope that nothing reaches critical mass when it comes to these feelings of depression and of being overwhelmed. But, when things get out of hand, students have options.

Every day, four academic counselors are available for crisis counseling. Students can go to the Counseling Office (RHN 147) or call 558-2289 on weekdays. And, because this number should be available to everyone and might even save a life: the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1 (800) 273-8255.

City College has an email blast that is sent to every faculty and staff member at least once a semester, outlining what to be on the lookout for when interacting with stressed and struggling students, according to Wendy Gomez, one of City College’s nurses.

While it’s important for faculty and staff to be alert, it’s also important that we students know what to watch for. Sometimes, we see things that our professors can’t — someone in emotional distress. Or we might hear something that a faculty or staff member doesn’t — a classmate’s anxious cry for help. So it never hurts to be vigilant.

According to City College’s Crisis Intervention email, possible behaviors to be on the lookout for include:
• Nervousness or anxiousness
• Sadness, crying or depression
• Inability to concentrate
• Spaced-out or disheveled appearance
• Angry behavior
• Being under the influence
• Excessive demand for reassurance or support
• Expressing suicidal thoughts

Let’s look out for each other, City College folks. Be kind and helpful — to yourself and others.

Life is hard, but there’s support out there for you if you need it.

Good luck out there.

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