Students overwhelmed with end-of-semester stress

Ancient student proverb: everything is due at once.

It’s the end of the semester and assignment due dates, final papers and exam season are fast approaching. Some students are feeling overwhelmed, and say that their health has been compromised due to unrealistic course loads.

Ayla Poitras is a third-year STU student, and says that she’s been physically sick more than once this semester due to school-related anxiety.

Ayla Poitras, third-year STU student, says she’s had to call in sick to work after staying up all night to finish school assignments. Photo: Ben Crouse

“This is taking a physical toll on my body. There is not enough hours in a day for me to work, go to school and do all these assignments. I don’t have the time or the energy, and I don’t have enough hands or brain,” Poitras said.

Poitras says that she’s developed unhealthy habits just to keep up with her course load. She often intakes high levels of caffeine just to make it through the day.

Second-year student Connor Moore also has unhealthy habits when stressed, however his habits influence his mental health rather than physical health.

“I’ll have no problem powering through an assignment through the night, but if I do an assignment overnight my brain’s not working, I get no sleep. I crash at like five o’clock in the morning and wake up at 6:30 in the morning to get ready to go campus,” Moore said.

“My entire day is ruined and I don’t want to talk to anybody and I’ve snapped at people before when I’ve pulled all nighters. So yeah, assignments do affect my mental health.”

Neil Anderson, a third-year student at St. Thomas University, says the pressure of a heavy course load can be overwhelming.

“I had one night where I was just depressed for no reason at all. I think it was just the stress of all the work sort of just getting to me,” said Anderson.

Ad for STU’s first-ever Long Night Against Procrastination. Photo: St. Thomas University

STU recognizes that stress among students is a real concern, and created an event to combat it. It was called the Long Night Against Procrastination and provided students with an opportunity to get help from representatives from the writing centre and peer tutors. River Valley Obedience also brought some dogs to help students de-stress.

Whether students attended to the event or not, due dates and exam season are right around the corner. Poitras says that sheer determination is what helps her power through assignments.

“…we have to pull up our socks, sit our asses down at our computers or at our notebooks or at our textbooks, and just do it until we’re done,” she said.