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28 January 2011

Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen [More:]I find this part particularly interesting:
One aspect of [the gap between men and women on emotional well-being] is how women and men spent their leisure time,” she said. “Men tend to find more time for leisure and activities that relieve stress, like exercise and sports, while women tend to take on more responsibilities, like volunteer work and helping out with their family, that don’t relieve stress

Boy that rung a bell for me!
“I don’t think students have an accurate sense of other people’s mental health,” he added. “There’s a lot of pressure to put on a perfect face, and people often think they’re the only ones having trouble.”

I work on a college campus. The kids we see are not as cheerful or carefree as you'd imagine a college freshman to be. They usually are working, fitting in classes between hours at work, and studying when they can. It's not the idyllic college experience fallacy.
I think most of these kids feel like something is wrong with them if they aren't having the times of their lives.
posted by toastedbeagle 28 January | 12:06
Rings a bell for me too, TPS.

Interesting that this comes out in the same week as this. I did wonder if one of the reasons for studying less was just working more, or doing more real-world training such as volunteering, interning, tutoring, apprenticing, etc. But I also know from my friends who are academics that they don't feel supported in demanding more, or more serious work, from their students, and do feel grade-inflation pressure - some of which is bald and direct.

I wonder about college. At times I think it's ill placed - it just functions as a holding pen for people in late adolescence, an age which our society has not figured out how to manage. In many ways I think we would better off to have some sort of two-year service program prior to college, or entry-level workforce training, and then let people work for a few years before applying to advanced study. It seems that very few people ages 18-22 really have what it takes to get the most out of the impressive opportunities a college can provide, given that they are still so young, their lives unsettled, their training probably fairly poor, and their sense of the workplace, economic conditions, and the realities of earning a living undeveloped.
posted by Miko 28 January | 13:05
They made claims like this when I was in college 20 years ago. Are things really 20 times worse now? (Serious, if rhetorical, question.)
posted by Melismata 28 January | 14:44
My impression is that there is certainly more stress out there, even among those applying to college, but I still wonder about the value of studies based on self-reporting. E.g.
Every year, women had a less positive view of their emotional health than men, and that gap has widened.

I think men are just less introspective or less willing to admit to difficulties.
posted by Obscure Reference 28 January | 14:57
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