Holiday stress abounds amongst college students
Editorial: As featured in volume 111, issue 6 of The Collegian.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it seems to have become the most stressful. Final projects, exams and presentations are all piling up for college students. Meanwhile, families with young children, elders or even those freshly graduated from college enjoy and bask in lots of what the season brings (though stress may occur because of the large commercial holiday Christmas has become). College students, on the other hand, are bombarded with busy finals schedules and don’t get to fully begin their holiday season.
I’ve grown up to love Christmas and the joy that is surrounded by it — decorating the house, making all sorts of treats and getting to see family. Don’t get me wrong, this is all still present every holiday season, though the journey there has seemingly taken a little longer. Approaching this time of the year has already sprung some stress upon me. With final projects and study guides well underway, I am not able to put too much effort into the holiday season just yet. Students are still seeking to feel the holiday joy by putting up decorations and soaking in the last bits of time with friends before going separate ways for winter break. Yet the list of assignments coming due continues to loom. I’m not saying the whole system should be changed, even though that would be wonderful. Rather, it’s time to recognize that this time of year is stressful in a multitude of ways.
Stress accumulates during the holiday season due to demands of traditions to be upheld, gifts to be bought and family to be seen. Christmas, in some ways, has become overdone and commercialized in the fact that we don’t take the time to truly slow down and enjoy the season for reasons aforementioned: spending time with loved ones and creating memories. Finding time for this in our Bethel communities and friend groups is so important, as this is an assured way to find joy. We all may have plenty of things to do, but spending time with our friends here and now is what brings us together and fosters the beloved Bethel community. While the many seasonal activities throughout the final weeks of the semester may appear to be a stressor for some students, we could view it as another way to help bring that holiday cheer back.
My challenge for each college student struggling to finish this semester is to soak in what you have now. Focus on finding your own type of Christmas joy and fun, the Bethel way. Creating your community helps you get through those long study nights, those challenging projects and whatever else professors throw at you. This may all be coming from a stressed college student, herself, but I have learned to love what I have now and find my new type of Christmas joy, even when I'm bombarded with finals.