A number 42 ranking is not so bad when the list is ranking “America’s Most Stressful Colleges.”
Coming in after Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD and UCSB, UC Davis was ranked the 42nd most stressful college, according to The Daily Beast’s rating system. Stanford came in first as the most stressful school in the U.S. The online news website used five criteria to measure stress including the cost to attend, competitiveness, acceptance rate, engineering programs and campus crime rate.
Amelia Goodfellow, a Health, Education and Promotion (HEP) student assistant for the Wellness program, works on projects concerning stress. Using data from National College Health Assessment Survey, Goodfellow was able to assess stress at UCD in more concrete terms than The Daily Beast’s list. Taken in 2007, the survey found 68 percent of UCD students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do within the last 30 days.
“On an individual basis, everyone is likely to get stressed at one point or another,” junior neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Goodfellow said. “Certain people seem predisposed to not being able to handle large amounts of stress.”
For students who find UCD a stressful environment, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Psychologist Dr. Dorje Jennette suggests recognizing and managing stressors. Exercising is an option students can easily use, along with consulting social support systems, whether they be trusted friends, family or CAPS counselors.
“It’s helpful to realize that we might not always be aware of all of our options, making it worth consulting with others in order to discover some of our options,” Dorje said in an e-mail interview.
UC Davis students should also keep in mind that some stress is necessary, but too much stress is a common issue for students nationwide, Dorje said.
“I’ve worked at other research universities, both on the east coast and atthe University of Hawaii. Believe it or not, students in Hawaii alsoexperience a lot of stress,” he said.
Dorje, who is the coordinator of the Stress & Wellness Clinic, said unmanaged excessive stress can have severe mental and physical consequences, including suicide, depression and increased risk of heart disease.
To help manage stressors, CAPS provides free services to students. The Stress and Wellness Clinic recently expanded into the new Student Health & Wellness Center where students can relax in a massage chair, use computerized biofeedback programs and guided audio relaxation programs and consult with professionals.
UC Davis political science senior Graham Scott uses exercise to de-stress, although he does not think UCD is particularly stressful.
“I don’t think it’s a really cut-throat school,” Scott said. “The only thing I [am] stressed about is post-graduation plans. I’m not super stressed about my grades or social life. I just don’t know what I’m going to do after I graduate.”
Sophomores Laura Chow and Rebecca Kondzela said UCD is not too stressful, but still has a competitive atmosphere.
Chow, a psychology major, said budget problems, protests and Memorial Union construction have made campus life slightly more stressful.
“It’s a beautiful campus and I love walking around,” she said. “But the construction has been bothering me a lot. There’s noise where there normally isn’t.”
To relieve her stress, political science and philosophy double major Kondzela plays video games.
“Davis straddles between good competitiveness and stressful competitiveness,” Kondzela said.
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.