October mental health check-in


With midterms and stress building up, it is important for Iowa State students to know there are mental health resources on campus.

Kaitlyn Richardson

For Alexias Townsend, a junior in food science, this time of the year can become overwhelming. Townsend feels stressed by the combination of midterms, homework and preparing for career fairs, among other things. For students like Townsend, though, she can sense that she’s not alone in this feeling.

“I do feel like there’s kind of an air of business and stress on the campus,” Townsend said. “Everyone’s rushing between classes. I hear a lot of negativity like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I just failed that exam,’ or ‘This was so hard,’ or ‘I have so much to do tonight,’ so it’s definitely that attitude.”

Cael Sleezer, a sophomore in journalism, said he is feeling that weight as well.

“[The] biggest challenge for me is staying in the ‘grindset’ from the beginning of the year,” Sleezer said. “It’s getting harder to get out of bed for my English class, which I don’t particularly like, at 7:45 in the morning when it’s still pitch black outside.”

An article on the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, titled “A Longitudinal Analysis of Stress Among Incoming College Freshman,” highlights the many negative effects of increased stress on students.

“Stress results in an array of negative outcomes for undergraduate students, ranging from poor academic performance and health, increased depression levels, increased alcohol use, increased drug/psychostimulant use, lowered self-esteem and self-worth and suicidal ideation,” the article said.

Students like Townsend recognize the importance of not letting this stress consume you.

“I just think everyone’s a little bit stressed, and everyone could benefit from taking a deep breath and remembering it’s not gonna be the end of the world,” Townsend said. “We’re gonna get through it.”

Sleezer is beginning to see the stress relief from the conclusion of midterms.

“I just finished my last big test, and I felt a weight lift off my shoulders,” Sleezer said. “I know that my roommate has been stressed out about his midterms as well. It’s the busiest time of the year that isn’t finals, and it stresses out everyone.”

Having all of this stress makes it important for students like Sleezer and Townsend to know where to turn when they can not handle it on their own.

“I know that on campus they have really great mental health resources at the Student Wellness center over there,” Townsend said. “So I know if I’m feeling stressed or if I feel like I can’t cope with stuff, I can always go over there and talk to them. Otherwise, professors can be really understanding if you’re like, ‘Hey I need one more day on this, I am fully booked right now,’ they’re usually pretty understanding.”

Sleezer is aware of these resources but has his own idea for a new resource he would find beneficial.

“It would be really cool if there was some kind of ‘find-a-friend’ on campus where you could fill out a form of your interests and meet people like you from across campus that you may not run into otherwise,” Sleezer said.

For more information about overcoming midterm stress, there are many articles such as “How to Relieve Stress Before a Test: 25 Research-Backed Tips,” by author and public speaker Daniel Wong which highlights a list of advice and tips for coping.

In Wong’s article, he highlights stretching, walking, exercising, getting sunlight, getting enough sleep, deep breathing exercises, increasing vitamin C intake and multiple more ideas.

In addition, Sleezer and Townsend feel that a positive mindset is most beneficial when working through these stressful times.

“It also helps for me to remember that today is just one day and you’ll get through it and come out better for it on the other side,” Townsend said.

Sleezer keeps a similar mindset.

“You gotta believe that the tough times are temporary, and they’re necessary to build you up into the person you’re trying to become,” Sleezer said. “Have a positive mindset and fight through the bad times to earn the good ones.”

More resources for handling stress can be found here.