Multiple new resources for stress and anxiety are available for Puyallup campus students. A second faculty counselor now schedules appointments with students and the Mental Health Association has been established this school year to ensure students feeling stressed or anxious have opportunities to talk with others.
New faculty counselor Brenda Rogers started working at the Puyallup campus in the fall, and she meets with students in addition to faculty counselor Jennifer Wright, who had been working at the campus as the only counselor before Rogers was hired. According to Sarah Hoaglin, a therapist and Pierce College professor, an additional counselor was hired so more students could speak with a counselor quicker because Wright’s schedule was booked so often.
The Mental Health Club consists of students who want to make a change in mental health on campus. Members plan to organize events that encourage students to seek the mental health help they need. Club Co-President Logan Cornwell joined the club because he believes students should’nt ignore their mental health. He said the state of a person’s mental health determines what they accomplish and how well they do.
“I want to do everything I can as a student to make Pierce College a place where people want to be and feel comfortable being at,” he said.
“As well as understand that no matter where your mental health is currently at, whether you’re stressed, anxious or depressed, there are many people here who want you to succeed and will help you in doing so.”
A 2018 Washington State Healthy Youth survey reported that 35% of high school seniors felt anxious, nervous or on the edge during the past two weeks when they answered the questions on the survey. At least one in three high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year.
For the Pierce College Puyallup students recently interviewed, they said their sources of stress and anxiety include meeting deadlines, taking tests, dealing with personal issues, and balancing jobs with homework. Those sources of stress and anxiety are similar to other college students’ sources of stress and anxiety. According to a survey of a 1,000 college students from MentalHelp.net, 31% reported that finals caused them stress, 24% said graduation/job future, 23% said class/workload, 13% said homework, 7% said other and 2% said family/friends.
“Personally, for me, it’s just about having to balance everything since I’m always either here or at work and any free time I have, I have to spend it doing homework, or studying for tests, so I feel like I just never get any time for myself and that’s really stressful for me,” said Pierce College student Allison Gould.
The future also was a source of anxiety for Pierce students. Many students weren’t exactly sure what they want to do after they graduate. Some believe they may be putting themselves through all of this struggle for an end result they either don’t know they want or one that they won’t be exactly pleased with.
“The future gives me lots of anxiety because I’m still trying to figure everything out and I don’t know if everything I’m doing here now will be worth it,” said student Jeremy Townsend.
The impact of all the stress and anxiety from students causes procrastination, mediocre work, sleep deprivation and lost time with loved ones.
“Sometimes I get so stressed out with the amount of work I have that I start to procrastinate doing the work, which stresses me out more and it turns into this cycle in a way,” said student Katherine Gilbert.
Hoaglin reported that the most stressed students are those who are new to the college experience.
“They don’t know what to expect, they don’t have that social capital yet and they don’t have someone here that they feel comfortable going to with problems they’re facing, so that ends up bringing a lot of stress and anxiety,” Hoaglin said.
Hoaglin suggested joining club and attending events as good ways to help relieve any stress and anxiety for anyone experiencing it at the college, more specifically new students. Cornwell mentioned many people, specifically students, underestimate how important their mental health is, and this might result in them not looking for any resources.
He also spoke about how many people think that whatever they’re going through mentally, isn’t something many other of their fellow students are also going through and it can make them feel isolated.
“When it comes to depression, anxiety and severe stress due to school, whenever I’m going through any of it, personally I feel as if I’m the only one going through it and I’m in it alone,” he said.
“But when I joined the club, I quickly realized how much of my peers were also going through the same exact experiences as I was, and it made me feel so much more normal and understood.”
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