College Students Dealing with High Levels of Stress


A study completed by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation discovered that two out of every five undergraduates that they evaluated often have emotional stress issues. 

With the high levels of stress, the study reported that more than 40 percent of stressed individuals are dropping out of school to cope with their struggles.

The rise of the pandemic and the subsequent consequences has caused a steady rise in individuals suffering from anxiety and depression, but the study also indicates that the number of students experiencing these conditions has been on the rise for years. 

A number of students at Mercy College are certainly feeling those stress levels, especially leading up to the end of the school year and with graduation approaching.

Senior Mercy student Mustapha Daffeh, who will be graduating with a degree in Accounting this month, recently dealt with high levels of stress as he attempted to complete the remaining classes he needed to qualify to walk across the stage.

“Over the past three months, my stress levels have been the the highest that they have ever possibly been. I made too many commitments over the past few months and I tremendously underestimated my workload.

Daffeh, competes in athletics for Mercy College, also has been working a part-time job while trying to complete his studies. The amount of work does not leave him much free time.

“There is none (free time). I feel like the only free time I got was when I was going to bed or waking up. And even then, I was stressed out about all the stuff I had forgotten to do during the day or the things I would have to do the next day.”

Daffeh also added, “I tend to procrastinate a lot so that free time is not truly ‘free.’ It’s really time that I should be trying to catch up on my work, but sometimes I just needed a break.”

Daffeh has balanced his workload for a number of years, but also made sure to add that the advanced level of his accounting classes in his last semester contributed greatly to his high levels of stress.

“The hard course-load that I endured this semester required me to get a tutor and attend tutoring sessions multiple times a week. That cut even more into any free-time that I possibly could have had, and the stress levels seemed to offset all of the extra work I was putting in to pass my classes.

Erin Shimborske, a fellow senior and student athlete who will be graduating this May with a degree in psychology, has experienced a similar experience.

“I feel like my stress levels always seem to go up towards the end of the year while I try and make up all of the work that I need to do. That, coupled with the fact that we were playing games all year has certainly been a lot to deal with.”

As a psychology major, Shimborske has had countless conversations with professors and fellow classmates about the subject of stress and the impact on a person’s mind.

“Stress is normal and a part of each person’s life. As college students, we are dealing with higher levels of stress because we are juggling a lot of different responsibilities all at once. We have to deal with adulthood while not truly feeling like adults, trying to make money while having to compete a full-class load, and personally speaking athletics brings a whole different aspect to it.”

Shimborske will be coming back for another year at Mercy. Daffeh, on the other hand, will either be moving on to a different institution for a year of graduate school, or will be looking for a job in his desired field immediately upon completing graduation.

“That decision has absolutely been weighing on my mind recently, and I’m pretty sure that’s just another reason that my stress levels have been so high. Just the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen next has made me feel very uneasy.”

With graduation approaching, Daffeh and Shimborske, along with the entire student body at Mercy College, are feeling the symptoms of stress that all students feel as the school year comes to a close.

With the high stress levels and anxiety about graduating, Daffeh is still excited about graduation, but is worried about what follows after.

“Graduation is going to be a really big moment for me as a first-generation college graduate, and summer will probably help me relax a little,” said Daffeh, “but now that I’m approaching adulthood and the decisions I have to make in that stage of my life, I feel like my stress levels will either stay at the same level or increase. It makes me a little nervous.”