How many times have you been stressed this week, let alone this semester? Almost all college students will have that moment where they feel like their world is crumbling and they can’t do anything to stop it. This could be caused by having multiple exams on one day, forgetting about an assignment, or not knowing what to write your eight-page research paper about. I have three test on Monday so of course I am feeling stressed now, but that got me wondering how stress is going to affect me and my grades.
Stress can be a very detrimental feeling to a person, especially a college student. It can keep them up at night worry, make them lose their appetite, and not sleep. These factors make me believe that stress can affect a student’s grade and overall GPA.
There was a study done by the University of Minnesota where they looked at close to 10,000 students over 14 different schools and monitored their stress, amount they drank, and smoked. After they collected their data, they separated the students who were just stressed compared to other students who were stressed and drank or smoked. About 70% of the surveyed students reported to being stressed during the school year, and close to half of them said that stress was affecting their academics.
Out of all the students, students who were stressed out more than eight times in a semester seems to do significantly worse than students who were not stressed or as stressed as them. The students who became stressed ended up having a 2.72 average GPA compared to the non-stressed students who averaged a 3.3 GPA. That is a .6 difference, and as we all know in school, that is a huge amount.
There was another study done where a lecturer from the School of Education followed five students throughout a school year to see how they acted in school. What she found out was that students become stressed due to grades, parents, or another variable and that leads them to cheat. They do not care about the topic they are learning as much as the grade they will receive. This study was done in high school where the consequence of cheating is not as harsh as college. Never the less, this study showed that when people are stressed they tend to cheat and college is somewhere that everyone becomes stressed at one point. Cheating in college can lead to major consequences and even expulsion.
My last thought on how stress affects us is how it affects our brain. Stress is about as common as anger, but for some reason stress seems to have more of an emotional and physical strain on us. According to the Harvard Medical School, the main part of our brain of our brain that deals with emotions, the amygdala sends a signal to the part of the brain that communicates with our body, the hypothalamus. Once the hypothalamus is contacted it starts to send adrenaline through our body. This makes our lungs open up more so our brain can get as much air as you need, which is why you might breathe more heavily when you are stressed. The adrenaline also makes your heart beat faster; which could be why you feel like your chest is about to explode when you are stressed.
These are all good things for when you are in a situation that needs you to take action quickly, but when it comes to school…. it doesn’t help as much. Our body sees stress as something more of a fight or flight situation, which doesn’t really help when you are overwhelmed with schoolwork. By relieving your stress as soon as you start to get it makes your body relaxed more and gets it back into its normal state. Once you are back to normal, you will be able to accomplish your work more efficiently than when your body is flowing with adrenaline.
Stress is a very harmful thing and has been found to damage students and their grades. There are various ways to overcome stress so that you can do well in school, and even avoid cheating. This website shows different ways on how to get rid or lessen your stress.