Stressed? So is Everyone Else.

Spring semester always seems to hit like a truck. From final projects to Celebration of Scholarship and performances to Commencement, there is a seemingly endless tide of events happening on campus. Eventually, everything piles up, and the often-heard answer to “How are you?” is “I’m stressed.”

So how do students deal with stress?

Rochelle Pense, a sophomore English creative writing major, has some good advice for this busy point in the semester.

“Especially this time of year, when everything’s chaotic,” Pense said, “it’s definitely kind of taking a moment and realizing that submitting something late is okay because your mental health is not worth an assignment.”

The academic lives of Millikin students are perpetually busy, as many students can attest to. When assignments pile up, it can be a good idea to step back and assess what needs to get done when. Communicate with professors early and often and realize when you can push a deadline.

On top of academics, extracurriculars are another point of enjoyment and can be a welcome break from the homework and projects and research that is part of students’ day-to-day schedules.

Elli Kettley, a junior BA Theatre and BA Music double major, uses her extracurriculars to relieve stress.

“I dance,” Kettley said. “It feels really good to release that energy and let myself be in the moment.”

Extracurriculars, however enjoyable, can also be a point of extra stress. That’s why it’s important to determine what you can and cannot commit yourself to.

“Firm boundaries,” Danielle Patricio, English lecturer, said. “You have to know your limitations and be really careful about what you agree to do and what you won’t do.” 

But when the work (and stress) piles up, it’s important to find a strategy to work through it all.

Lily Bryson, a sophomore Musical Theatre major, talked about how she handles the sheer amount of work she has to do.

“I usually try to break it down into manageable chunks that I can handle,” Bryson said. For essays specifically, Bryson said she will sit down, write an outline, and work through each stage until she’s satisfied with the final product.

And after the stressful parts are over? Everyone needs a way to calm down and get out of go mode.

“I clean my room, do some laundry, kind of get my life together,” Pense said. “Sometimes do some face masks.” 

Riley Kell, sophomore biology pre-physical therapy major, agrees. “I sit on the couch in our living room of our apartment and watch a movie with my roommate,” she said. “And then after that, I just kind of vibe and meditate and listen to music and get ice cream.”

“Also, getting a lot of rest,” Kettley said. “Getting more rest and feeling well-rested allows a lot of the mental pressure to evaporate. 

As we work through the final weeks of the semester, one of the best ways (and the most difficult) is to ward it off before it becomes overwhelming.

“I’m a Christian, so I devote all my Sundays to that because it brings me rest and prepares me for the week,” Grace Brixa said. 

Brixa is a feshman BFA Musical Theatre major. She keeps herself organized and plans things out in advance to deal with stress.

As the semester reaches its high point, remember to use your resources. The Writing Center, CAPP office, peer tutors, paraprofessional staff and professors are all there to help you.