By Maryam Ayomide Usman
Stress has been the major factor affecting students in different educational level, especially those in higher institutions.
Although other factors may affect students’ academic performance such as past educational background, economic conditions, peer influence and the conducive nature of campus environment, stress from academic challenges is a major determinant of the success of students.
Some other challenges that may affect the ability of a student to cope academically include the new university environment, habitual changes and the responsibilities that go with a student’s new status such as feeding and daily care.
Thus, there are several factors that induce stress in the new and old undergraduate which they battle daily, though the concentration has always been focused on learning and academic performance.
Some students also run part-time or full-time employment and it has been proven that the more time spent at work, the less time they spend studying. Having to maintain a job and still be a university student is a constant source of stress.
It is also proven to be mentally strenuous managing the two roles of workplace and university life as student. A 300 level student of Kinesiology has this to say, “I used to have my regular classes at university which takes up to 30-36 hours of my week and then have an additional training and physical fitness course running in line with my course through my university which requires an additional 5 hours daily.
“I always feel stressed and tensed in struggling to complete my assignment to the best of my ability at any given time. Another thing is that after going through all this stress, I will still need to submit my draft report of weekly activities at my place of work. I have nearly 6 weeks to complete my final report,” she explained.
Medically, a student needs to sleep for minimum of 6 hours daily because few hours of sleep at night may result in psychological instability. Sleeping for shorter period of time has been known to increase anxiety and stress. It also shortens attention span, lifespan and also increases level of woeful performance during test and examination.
Some suggestions have been offered to help students cope with stress in school. These include good nutrition, exercises, good sleep and engaging in social activities. To avoid stress, a student needs to keep a balance between his/her academic and social life. All work and no play is bad, the same way all play and no work is bad.
Thus, students should be counseled on stress and stressors and how to avoid them. This is because how they successfully manage their stress will determine their academic performance.