Campus stress on high alert

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By Cat Machado

With exams close to a week away, students are sure to be feeling the end-of-semester stress.

According to Ryerson security, the amount of calls made to emergency services on campus doubles prior to exams because students start buckling under school-related pressure.

There were 51 medical calls made over the last month of the fall semester. Nineteen of those calls were from the first week of November, during midterms.

“I get almost an anxiety attack before the exam. It’s hard to focus,” said first-year biology student, Victoria Weisz.

Dr. Dana Millstein, a psychologist at Ryerson, said that one way to handle stress is to break things down into manageable chunks.

“The more risk factors there are in someone’s life the more likely it is for them to have stress,” she said.

There are two factors that affect someone’s level of stress: protective factors and risk factors.

Protective factors decrease vulnerability to stress and include things like healthy relationships, spirituality, curiosity and finding meaning in life.

The risk factors that encourage stress include lack of social support, negativity and introversion, including hermit-like tendencies.

According to Millstein, time management is an effective protective factor.

“I think I’m taking it easy because I began studying way in advance. There’s no real easy way out of it and if you do it at the last minute you’re just going to be stuck,” said first-year computer engineering student, Vreti Vaghla.

But it is not just the students who feel the shift in the atmosphere on campus during this time of year.

“We see a spike in the need for access to computers, printing, and access to study space – all key to students getting their assignments completed, and preparing for exams,” said Cecile Farnum, Ryerson’s communications and liaison librarian. “When there are problems accessing these services, [for] example no available computers, no study space, printers out of service, etc., this can be frustrating to students facing time crunches, leading to stress and anxiety.”

Millstein believes that part of the journey as a student is to figure out what works best for each individual.

“I think we’re not born knowing how to face challenges with confidence or productivity. As we move through life we try to learn ways to cope and take on challenges but sometimes the ways we learn to cope aren’t as effective, and sometimes they are even harmful,” said Millstein.

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