Counselor at Counseling and Psch Services
Debra Cox-Howard. Photo by Maria Urquidez
Maria Urquidez

Every semester thousands of students stress over midterms, finals, assignments and studying, making stress the No. 1 health problem at the University of Arizona, said Debra Cox-Howard, a licensed professional counselor at Counseling and Psych Services (CAPS).

Cox-Howard said every student shows stress at one point during the semester. Symptoms of stress include headaches, body aches and oversleeping. Students with these symptoms should seek help for their stress. 

“The stress is different for each person. For some of them it’s due to a sense of (being) overwhelm(ed),” Cox-Howard said. These students may stress in college because they are entering a new environment and leaving home for the first time.  

“Managing your time, that’s a big one,” Cox-Howard said. 

Some students take on a workload that’s too much for them to handle, which can lead to problems with time management. The best way to alleviate this type of stress is to organize schedules and engage in activities such as yoga and other types of exercise. 

Glenn Matchett-Morris, a psychologist at CAPS, said stress is different for everyone. For newer students, he said it’s “often related to adjustment,” like transitioning from high school to college, relationship problems or financial stress. He said older students stress over things like graduation finding a job after college.

According to Matchett-Morris, stress can create both physical and mental problems, such as depression and anxiety.  

Sequoia Fischer, 19, an incoming UA freshman, said she has had a lot on her mind lately. 

“I think there’s too much for me to handle right now, so I don’t really feel anything. I’m sure it’s just stress, though,” Fischer said. 

Fischer said she feels her years in the university will certainly be stressful. “I am in engineering, and it’s a lot of math, but hopefully I’ll be fine,” Fischer said.

UA sophomore Tera Babb, 19, said she experienced a lot of stress her first year, but to offset the stress, she prioritized her time. 

“I cut back on relationships I had with people and friendships I had to sacrifice, but sacrifices have to be made in order to succeed with no stress,” Babb said.

Babb said school was her most important priority, and in the future, her friends would understand her sacrifices. 

Babb also joined the Filipino American Student Association to get her mind off stress. She found talking with other members beneficial. She said the older students in the club were especially empathetic. 

“They have gone through this new beginning, and they gave me a lot of good advice that I utilized and still use when I have stress,” Babb said. 

Unlike the other students, Jose Salinas, 18, also an incoming UA freshman, is not as stressed as some students.

“I am only stressed for the last-minute things, like buying books and stuff I need,” Salinas said.

Ever since beginning high school, he found a way to relieve stress. 

“Working out gets my mind off of everything. I like to be motivated. I am very energetic,” Salinas said.

Salinas is sure that if he continues to work out while at the university, he will stick to the same routine as he used in high school. 

“I’m going to be working out to be mentally and physically prepared to become successful,” he said.

 Tony Juarez, a jazz instructor at the ConDanza Company in Tucson, recommends  that students join a dance class as a stress reliever.. 

“It is a great activity to get your mind off of homework, work and life in general,” he said.

Activities like this keep students distracted from stress. They are able to interact with different people and talk with each other about stress.

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