The following paper sets out to explore the numerous challenges that college students go through prior to graduating. Contrary to what one might expect, the termination of one’s college studies is not an easy endeavor. In fact, graduation is a transition period laden with numerous complications and challenging choices. This is explored with greater scrutiny below.
To begin with, Zhang stresses in her article that “college students lie in the stage of transferring from childhood to adulthood physically as well as learning to be independent” (96). College students’ cognitive capacity is still undergoing development. While usually energetic and open to new discoveries, college students are also quite sensitive and hedonistic. They are still in the process of uncovering their potential and personality. Basically, college students are on their way to becoming psychologically independent and self-reliant. In the face of graduation, college seniors “are faced with complicated decisions and reflections about their future jobs, graduation examination, thesis oral defense,” and issues concerning their personal lives (Zhang 96). For most students, their confidence has grown during the college years, yet they may still feel highly uncertain about what the future holds for them. All this adds to the huge amounts of stress experienced by the young adults.
As the senior year approaches its end, upcoming exams may cause students to experience high pressure. These exams play a crucial role in the student GPAs. Seniors may stumble upon anxiety and depression. In some cases, the student may encounter insomnia and nervous breakdowns. Essentially, an article by Pedrelli et al. stresses that “mental health problems are very common among college students” (504). In their research, the authors distinguish between traditional and non-traditional students. Traditional students usually enter college right after graduating from high school; they typically depend on their parents, are younger, and do not work during college. As for the second student group (non-traditional students), they tend to be older, working full-time during their studies; this group tends to have more adult responsibilities and “may have dependents other than their spouses” (Pedrelli et al. 504). While the stresses experienced by these groups may differ, the effects of stress are similar: depression, anxiety, etc.
Pedrelli et al. note that mental health problems often escalate during one’s college years due to the heightened pressure to succeed in numerous spheres of life (510). In the end, psychological issues and the pressures of college life may stack up, resulting in substance use, depression, and mental health complications. Thus, a conclusion may be drawn that if a student had mental health issues prior to entering college, these problems could reach their peak during college years. What is more, as graduation approaches, a student who has already been struck with mental health issues may feel even more out of hand. A meltdown may occur, especially if the individual feels that she is not coping well enough and graduation (and the inevitable choices that come with it) only adds to the stack of issues. In such cases, counseling may be the only solution to helping the student overcome difficulties.
In another academic article, Doygun and Gulec explain that the closer graduation approaches, the more worried students may become about their future (1117). During the last year of college life, students must make a choice about their future jobs, living conditions, and many other aspects. The more indecisive individuals may feel greater stress than their confident peers. However, since most students are still in the process of finding their path, a greater number of college graduate falls into the category of “indecisiveness.” Essentially, Doygun and Gulec explain that if a college senior is struggling with job search, she may feel overwhelmed (1118). In turn, this may result in a feeling of being incapable to control one’s life, leading to a series of mental health issues (Doygun and Gulec 1118).
In his article, Agrawal points to the issue of college loans as another big stressor. Particularly, college graduates feel that the time when they have to pay back the loan is approaching. Moreover, if the student is struggling with landing a job, she may feel crushed by the thought of being unable to repay her debt. Even those students who are able to find a job may feel depressed because of the very notion of having to repay the loan, knowing that the sum increases each year due to the interest rate accumulation.
What should not be overlooked is that college students may find the changes that are happening in their lives too swift. Only several years ago they had to join the college community, get accustomed to it, meet new people, and master a new way of life. A couple of years afterward, as they have gotten used to their new rhythm of life, they must give it all up and face new changes. In their article, Fook and Sidhu explain that college students must face the following challenges/issues upon entering college: cognitive challenges, time management issues, cultural adaptation, instructional problems, and numerous others (607). Thus, constant change may feel highly stressful for young adults; they may feel that their stability is repeatedly undermined.
Summing up, college years are difficult enough in themselves, yet when graduation approaches, students may feel even more pressure about their future. They must claim greater responsibility for their lives, find a job, a place to live, and become financially independent. Moreover, if a student has loans, this adds to the stress, since debt repayment is often a daunting and lengthy process. As for the general effects of all these stressors, they are always psychological. Graduates may feel depressed and anxious, encountering insomnia, loss of appetite, and nervous breakdowns. Those students who had prior mental health issues may feel ultimately crushed by the upcoming, inevitable changes brought on by graduation.
- Agrawal, AJ. “Diploma Depression: The Biggest Issues College Graduates Are Facing.” Business.com, 22 Feb. 2017, www.business.com/articles/the-biggest-issues-college-graduates-are-facing.
- Doygun, Ozlem, and Selma Gulec. “The Problems Faced by University Students and Proposals for Solution.” Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 47, 2012, pp. 1115-123.
- Fook, Chan Yuen, and Gurnam Kaur Sidhu. “Investigating Learning Challenges Faced by Students in Higher Education.” Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 186, 2015, pp. 604-12.
- Pedrelli, Paola, et al. “College Students: Mental Health Problems and Treatment Considerations.” Academic Psychiatry, vol. 39, no. 5, 2015, pp. 503-11.
- Zhang, Jinming. “Problems and Solutions Related to College Students’ Belief.” International Educational Studies, vol. 1, no. 3, 2008, pp. 95-98.