The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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College students feel the pressure

Photo by Provided

Texas A&M’s Bhakti yoga club gives students an outlet to relieve and manage their stress. The club meets once a week on Friday afternoons for guided exercises.

Maintaining grades, managing friendships and relationships, living by yourself for the first time and preparing for future endeavors can make a student feel stressed simply reading about it. But on A&M’s campus, relief is only a walk away.
As college students begin to leave home for the first time, they endure new challenges and responsibilities, everything from doing laundry to managing their own schedule. All of these challenges can intensify stress, which can affect a student’s success in the classroom, as well as suppress immune systems, according to a study by New York University. The A&M campus features many resources for stress management, but some may not be well known to students. Many of these resources are student-led and allow a personal approach to handling stress.
Eighty percent of college students have reported feeling stressed often or sometimes, according to The American Institute of Stress, which has been called an epidemic among students. Individuals away at college are highly likely to experience intense stress due to being homesick, maintaining or creating friendships and lack of sleep because of schoolwork and other commitments.
Economics freshman Julissa Zamora is a first-generation student who is currently enrolled in the Liberal Arts Regents Scholar First Semester Experience, or LBAR, which serves as a required guidance course. LBAR has a general section on mental health which has helped her realize what she could do to lessen stress, but she believes the course could have expanded on this section, Zamora said. 
“It helped me recognize what I needed help with and what areas of my overall well-being and mental health needed,” Zamora said. “But in terms of providing me the steps that I needed to get where I needed to be, it wasn’t effective in that area.”
As a personal stress relief strategy, Zamora said she sets aside one day a week for personal relaxation. She also does small things throughout the week to combat stress, including trips to Target. 
“For me personally, I do my best to work on my homework before so I have one day to chill and not worry about anything,” Zamora said. “That, and small things I do throughout the day, like going to Target. Just walking around helps me destress and helps me feel better.”
Students should dedicate time to reducing stress because it can affect all parts of their wellness, said Sarah Heiar, health program coordinator at A&M Health Promotion.
“If a student is suffering from any kind of mental health distress, that can carry over into their academics, relationships, friendships, jobs and responsibilities,” Heiar said. “At Health Promotion, we talk about the dimensions of wellness and how they all interrelate with each other. If there is distress in one area, it’s likely to have crossover into other areas.”
Heiar is also the co-lead of the Wellness Coaching Program, a free service which connects students to coaches who can assist them in achieving a variety of goals by encouraging the student and providing accountability. 
“We have students who want to set physical wellness goals, and we help with that, but we also have people who want to focus on their mental health or spirituality,” Heiar said. “Our job as wellness coaches is to help with smart goal setting to make sure students are set up for success at the very beginning.” 
Ph.D. candidate Rohit Mishra, current president of the Bhakti yoga club at A&M, said the club is a great resource for students looking to manage their own stress.
“You can have psychologists and psychoanalysis, but at the end of the day, it is you who is fighting,” Mishra said. “If the issue is personal, then the application should also be personal. After our session, we are more relaxed and ready for the week, and even the weekend for that matter.”
The Bhakti yoga club features a vegetarian and vegan meal, guided Hatha yoga sessions and meditation sessions once a week on Friday afternoons, Mishra said. 
“My personal opinion is that connection with others is really important for relieving stress,” Heiar said. “It can be really hard to go through something stressful alone. Just going to someone else for support, I think, is really important and having someone that you can relate to.”

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