Health & Wellness

Academic Resource Center helps with Anxiety

(photo from The Utah Statesman Online)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.

Academic Resource Center helps with Anxiety

By Levi Henrie in The Utah Statesman Friday, March 6, 2015

The Academic Resource Center hosted “Turning Academic Anxiety into Academic Energy,” a workshop focused on helping students deal with anxiety and stress, Tuesday [March 3] in the Taggart Student Center.

“The goal has been to help students identify their sources of academic anxiety,” said Josh Matyi, a graduate assistant with the Academic Resource Center. “We wanted to give them a few skills or strategies to approach that and to be able to prepare better for assignments or tests.”

Matyi, who gave the workshop, spoke of the “anxiety cycle.” He explained that anxiety and stress are oftentimes part of a downward spiral. The spiral begins with a trigger, which then leads to fear, avoidance, lack of preparation and poor performance. This poor performance, Matyi explained, may then become a trigger for even further anxiety and doubt, perpetuating the cycle.

The ARC provides workshops such as this one, although with slightly different topics, every other week. Students seeking assistance or information may walk into the center in room 305 of the Taggart Student Center or visit its webpage at usu.edu/arc.

“The ARC is a great resource, we do a lot of things like, for instance, on test anxiety,” Matyi said. “There’s also several other great resources on campus such as Counseling and Psychological Services, the tutoring center, the writing center and the Disabilities Resource Center.”

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 62 percent of students who withdrew from college in 2011 did so for reasons relating to anxiety.

Students believe that USU is no exception from issues of anxiety and stress.

“I honestly think every college campus has stressed students, but yeah definitely (Utah State has a lot),” said Courtney Asay, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering. “We all stress over different things, but it reaches a high point during midterms or finals week.”

Many students report that they’re able to manage their stress relatively well, citing methods such as exercise, adequate rest and having a positive outlook as being most beneficial.

“I like breathing exercises and going to work out just to relieve that built-up stress,” said Joe Skibiel, a junior majoring in natural resources. “You’ve got to relieve it and that’s the best way I know how.”

Other students, however, find coping with stress and anxiety more difficult.

“I think it’s a big problem, honestly,” Asay said. “It affects everything you do when it comes to studying or even sleep.”

The issue of sleep is one that was touched on in the workshop. Many students are accustomed to “cramming” the night before a test and then surviving the following day by consuming extra sugar. Matyi explained that neither of these practices is optimal.

“Five to 10 hours of sleep is the window,” Matyi said. “If you go below five for a night or a couple of nights a week, you’re in the danger zone. You need sleep to consolidate memory.”

Overall, the message the ARC wished to communicate is that anxiety can be managed.

“There are certain strategies that we can try to implement in our academic choices that can have a great impact,” Matyi said. “There are possible solutions. There is hope.”

levi.henrie@aggiemail.usu.edu

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