This Week's Message
Being attentive to our students during a stressful week
I know this is a stressful time for everyone on campus. Faculty are grading finals, coaches are preparing for end of season tournaments, advisors are helping their groups make final preparations for fall break trips, leaves have to be raked at home and the list goes on and on. The good news is that faculty and staff expect this peak in activity and have made plans for moving through this time period in a manageable way.
Unfortunately, this is also a stressful time for many of our students who are not as good at planning as our faculty members are. Our counselors, the Dean of Students staff, the Reading/Writing Center and the Director of Advising are experiencing a visible increase in students reaching out for support. While stress among upper-class students may be about the same, first year student levels of stress and anxiety brought about by this time of year seems a bit higher than normal.
There is some evidence to suggest that our students are less prepared to handle stress generally. Registration, finals, financial pressures, safety, and even going home for break can cause feelings of panic, a sense of being out of control, overwhelmed or isolated.
Some of this is a normal part of growing up. One of the significant developmental tasks that college students must master is learning to manage emotions. Some of the stress that faculty will witness this week is simply the stress of coping with a brand new experience. Those students need to be reassured by the adults around them that their feelings are normal and that they will get through the finals, survive without their roommates and new found friends for a week, be able to reconnect with their parents and continue their journey to maturity.
Others, however, do need help. If you sense that a student is not able to manage his or her feelings, please refer them to the appropriate resource. Students who are overwhelmed and cannot make progress with their studies or are struggling with grades and appear depressed or hopeless should be referred. If you aren't sure about a student, please call the Dean of Students Office (7533) and let us check into the situation. If other resources would be more appropriate, please contact them. Several are listed below for easy reference:
- Evelyn Campbell and Mark Anderson, Dean of Students staff at 7533
- Mike Tendall and Deb Vanspeybroeck, Counselors at 7357
- Mike Augspurger, Director of Advising at 8290
- Kelly Giovanine, Coordinator of Medical Support at 2693
Thank you for your collaboration and support this term. It is only by working together that we can help those students who need a little extra TLC to succeed. Have a wonderful break.
Dean and Vice President of Student Services