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What is it with college stress?

Photo by Emily Ranquist

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

A college degree is perhaps as important in today’s world as status was in the Greek Areopagus. And quite similarly gaining a college degree is no less stressful than climbing the revered Greek hills. But is the rolled certificate a Greek gift, or are there rabbits in the graduation hat?

The one sentiment which has gained mainstream commentary in recent times is that college is somewhat overrated. Particularly in societies where a college graduate quite often ends up unemployed or underemployed or where one eventually has to then come back around to learn a skill from unlearned artisans, there could hardly be a convincing response to these claims.

Conversely, another way of looking at this is that for what it offers at least on the prospects of financial stability, college is unduly so stressful. A media student at the end of each semester may have submitted on the average six essays, and three feature articles, along with other assignments and projects. Of course there is a justifiably wide margin for discipline, but when that margin overlaps with certain levels of mental and physical stress, such that quite often the student feels like a crash scene at intervals of feeling like a beast of burden on active service, then one has a justifiable reason to complain.

Of course ‘the real world’ is tough, and college may be a preparation for the toughness of the real world, or maybe there is a way to make the real world less stressful. Maybe three day weekends, and four day work weeks could help people manage the stresses of their postmodern lives. Whichever the case, the concerns remain that college is demanding.

The challenge with reducing the number of assignments or the overall workload perhaps is that there are not many other ways of comprehensively assessing the student, or of making the student a committed participant in learning. Again balancing it out against dwindling mental health and other effects of school stress, it is only sensible that at some point something has to give. Throw into the mix the fact of those who have to combine work and study, and maybe a case is perhaps almost made for lifted placards.
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