Students lose sleep from stress after the start of the new semester

By Maria Lattanze
October 16, 2019

Students are losing sleep from the stress of classes and taking on more credits in the wake of the new semester.  As the students begin their journey in the new semester, each major calls for different requirements, a heavy workload and students are beginning to feel the stress.

Michelle Piccone is a sophomore with an undecided major.  She entered her sophomore year feeling prepared for the semester.  However, she is struggling with her workload.

Piccone works on her homework in her dorm room
Photo by Maria Lattanze

“I am more stressed this year,” sophomore Michelle Piccone said. “We are moving up in grades so I feel like it’s harder with more stuff to deal with and with more classes.  The sophomore-level professors are expecting more from us.”

With 13.5 credits this semester, Piccone struggles to get a good night’s sleep.

“Honestly, when I try to get sleep,” Piccone said. “I can’t go to sleep until like another hour.”

Freshman Jovan Bilcik, a communications major, finds that her busy schedule with classes and rowing practices and games contributes to her stressful nights and lack of sleep.  This leads to slow performances in school and classes.

One aspect students stress about is school supplies including textbooks for their classes
Photo by Maria Lattanze

“On good days I am probably getting five to six hours of sleep at night and on bad days I get three to four hours,” Bilcik said. “I feel like I am occasionally getting a good night’s sleep but today I was starting to fall asleep in my first class.”

Bilcik has to wake up around 5 a.m. in the mornings for her 5:15 AM rowing practices.  On average, at least twice a week she only receives three to four hours of sleep.

“I just need to get a better routine honestly,” Bilcik said. “if I actually did my homework and did have a routine then I feel like it would probably be better.”

Alissa Brown, director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), said students come to counseling for a variety of reasons such as stress, anxiety and depression.  According to counseling statistics, last year (2018-2019), approximately 13 percent of the undergraduate population at Cabrini attended at least one appointment at CAPS.

Stress is just one of many topics we talk about with students,” Brown said. “Our goal is to help students learn to effectively cope with any challenges in their lives, whether that is related to stress or any other challenge they are facing.”

There are students on campus who are taking on 18 credits but find the motivation and right techniques to eliminate most of the stress.  Brittany Purdy, a junior majoring in early education and special education, has entered the semester taking on 18 credits. She finds she is a little more stressed this year due to the types of classes she is taking, but her sleep schedule remains satisfactory.

“I feel like I am getting a good night’s sleep,” Purdy said. “I am getting 7-9 hours of sleep at night this year, the same as last year.”

When determining how to handle and deal with stress and its effects, Brown has some advice.

Students crowd the library to work on projects and homework for their classes
Photo by Maria Lattanze

“It is helpful to identify the source of the stress, so that coping skills can be based on a person’s specific needs,” Brown said. “Everyone’s situation is different, and there are countless strategies that people can learn to help them cope more effectively with stress and other challenges.”

If you find you are stressed and need someone to talk to, the counseling center on campus offers their help and guidance:

Maria Lattanze

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