Finals season: Mt. SAC students talk stress and classes

Under the two mountains of academics and economy, many college students feel stressed


Finals week. Via Wikimedia Commons.

With finals looming, the months of May and June are some of the most stressful times for students.

According to a Gallup report, 44% of associate degree students and 36% of bachelor’s degree students said they have considered “stopping out” of college in light of significant emotional stress.

Twenty-year-old sociology major Andrea Cuevas, who attended a four-year university before transferring to Mt. SAC, said that she made the decision to transfer because she felt overloaded with stress and she just wanted to slow down the process.

“I was juggling school work and personal life, it was a lot to handle all at once,” she said.

After adjusting the pace, Cuevas said she can now focus and balance her responsibilities. She said she feels better and has her own way to release stress.

“Honestly, I nap a lot. I feel like napping just takes our minds off and helps me recoup,” she said. “Or I’ll go to the gym, or I’ll listen to music, spend time with my family. Just little things.”

According to the American Addiction Center, exams are considered the biggest stressor for students, with 89.2% of college participants reporting exams to be their largest stress factor.

Marlene Leon, 18, psychology major, chose to study psychology because she likes helping people but says she is stressed from her studies.

“We have exams every upcoming Friday and quizzes on Mondays and Tuesdays,” she added. “My main stress right now is trying to pass tests.”

Chris Garcia, 21, nursing major, is stressed out by his packed schedule.

“I am in nursing, I’m doing a lot of STEM classes and I’m taking anatomy,” he said.

“Sometimes when I’m done studying, I feel physically and mentally exhausted,” Garcia added. “And then I still have to go to work, a part-time job from 2 to 6, Monday through Friday.”

Besides classes, Garcia feels the pressure of longer-term commitments. “Application seasons are going to be coming up pretty soon. I’m trying to get into good colleges,” he said.

Although the pressure is everywhere, Garcia, who has a clear future employment goal, said that he never thought of giving up. “It keeps me good,” he added. “It’s good stress. It’s nothing bad.”

Garcia said his best decompressor is to hang out with family and friends and exercise when he has time.

“Every now and then I meditate in the morning and it really calms me,” he added.

For many, being able to self-regulate emotions and stress is key, but having other support is vital too.

Sergio Oseguera, who was in the military for five years, is now in the aircraft maintenance program at Mt. SAC. Paying for school is one area he doesn’t have to worry about.

He said that he gets GI Bill to help and receives a stipend each month for housing.

Gio Gudieo, 19, nursing major, said his family is his strongest backing.

“My family is really good at that. We talk a lot about how we’re feeling and I feel like that helps us a lot with our stress levels,” he said.

Garcia encouraged those who are suffering to keep going.

“You can do it,” he said. “Pain is temporary. And if you know your why, and you really believe in your why, you can do anything.”

Stressed students can seek help at the Health Center which offers a number of resources.

Additionally, students can get help from the financial office to learn about paying for school and earning scholarships.