Tis the Season for Freshman Freak-outs

By Rachael Stewart

April 16, 2014

If you hear guitar strums and flute melodies coming from inside the residence halls, you might think you’re nearing a school concert, but it’s just freshmen Tamara Murdock and Katie Fox relieving stress after a long day.

With their first college academic years coming to a close, freshman students’ stress levels rise with the greater number of tests and homework unseen for many before they began college.

Freshmen, like all college students, are beginning to become buried under mountains of papers, books and deadlines. The workload during these final weeks comes on like an avalanche and it may become almost impossible for freshmen to find a moment’s peace.

While faced with these academic challenges, several Dominican freshmen have shared their methods of relaxation with the “Dominican Star” in order to encourage other freshmen to de-stress.

At first glance, while freshman Eric Smith might come across as intimidating with his muscular build, his methods of relaxation methods say otherwise.

“I hit the gym four days out of the week,” Smith said.

Smith says after his workouts, he turns to fifteen minutes of meditation in order to kick-start his relaxation.

Other freshmen have a more social approach to get their minds off of school.

Katie Fox says her go-to de-stresser revolves around playing music and hanging out with friends. Fox can often be seen socializing in the Coughlin Commons strumming away at her guitar, especially when school gets stressful for her.

Just like Fox, Tamara Murdock also finds music to be relaxing when school gets tough.

“I paint, draw or play my flute,” Murdock said.

She furthers her musical relaxation by also playing her flute in the liturgical choir for masses in the Rosary Chapel.

While college has provided additional responsibilities for freshmen, Ellen Lynch shares that she has not found the transition to be hectic for her. She has managed to successfully balance good grades with an on-campus job with the Welcome and Information Desk.

“I’ve actually handled stress better in college,” Lynch said. “I make sure that any time I can, I get extra work done.”

Lynch also gives her advice for those who find trouble coping with academic stress.

“Take a breather and then prioritize to find the things that need to be done right away,” she said.  

Olivia Carollo, a therapist with the Wellness Center, says that she regularly sees students who just want to come in and learn tips about how to manage their stress and other young-adult anxieties.

“Everyone wants to feel less stressed,” Carollo said. “If you’re aware of what stress feels like in your body, then when that starts to come up, there’s a lot of things we can do to kind of stop them from taking control.”

She says some simple and helpful tricks to lowering stress levels are breathing, going for a walk and spending some alone time.

“[Exercising] is almost like pushing a reset button for yourself,” Carollo added.

Dominican’s Wellness Center offers many stress relief and management programs for all students including a group that meets every week to discuss ways to relax. Students are encouraged to visit the Wellness Center daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and schedule an appointment to speak to a counselor or taking part in a stress relief group.