By Emma Whitaker | Reporter
As graduation and final exams approach campus, summer isn’t the only thing on people’s minds. According to students and faculty, the end of the semester brings heightened anxiety because of looming test grades and future plans.
Temple senior Tristan Coffee is graduating in May and she admits to experiencing anxiety about her job plans but also plans to finish her college career strong.
“Anxiety is kind of an unsaid normality of senior year. Instead of thriving, I feel like when we ask each other how we’re doing, seniors are just like, ‘Oh, I’m making it,’” Coffee said. “There is a pressure to know what you’re going to do when you graduate. It can make someone feel lesser than if they don’t have a firm plan.”
El Paso senior Victoria Malone said she agreed with Coffee that graduation can cause deep anxiety for graduating seniors. However, Malone said she tries to find ways to alleviate the stress of senior year.
“It’s helpful to be vulnerable with one another about the stressors in your life. My friends and I stay up late at night talking with each other, being there for one another,” Malone said. “It’s important to stay in the moment and trust the Lord, instead of worrying about the future.”
Another component of anxiety can sometimes come from home, according to Cypress sophomore Mateo Rueda. He said his anxiety comes from his family expecting a high level of academic success.
“Sometimes when I have anxiety, all I want to do is curl up in a ball or jump into a sea of molten lava. There is just this strong feeling of failure,” Rueda said. “Having to go back and see your parents for an entire summer, after you’ve done poorly in an academic year, is overwhelming to say the least.”
In fact, Rueda said during final exam season he feels his anxiety dramatically rise.
“I do. I think a lot of the pressure is the feeling that if you fail, you’re failing a semester. There’s more room to fail than to pass. I get really bad anxiety around finals season. My freshman year, I would even get bad panic attacks,” Rueda said.
Academic mentor Rachel Hoarty said she understands the pressure students undergo throughout college.
“There is a lot of pressure on students, whether it comes from family, professors or themselves, to perform well in school. I think this is a major reason why students struggle with anxiety,” Hoarty said.
While Hoarty understands the students’ pressure and anxiety, she said she encourages students to look at the bigger picture and their grade point average isn’t the “end all be all.”
“It’s important for students to understand that, as they move in to the professional world, grades are important, yet it’s also important to be a well-rounded individual in and out of the classroom,” Hoarty said.
Some students, such as Fort Worth sophomore Lance Smith, found ways to defend off anxiety as the school year comes to a close.
“A lot of people think their worth or identity comes in school. But really it’s not. Our salvation is not dependent on grades,” Smith said.
If students are experiencing stress, the Paul L. Foster Success Center, located in the Sid Richardson Building, aims to help students manage their academic stress. The learning lab is open 1-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday or by appointment at the front office.