By Jhalak Jerajani
College is one of the most important phases in any person’s life. There are some who enjoy these days by going to parties and watching movies and simply enjoy themselves, there are others who have to work and provide for to a family at the same time. This period, like any other period, in a person’s life goes through in phases and with each phase comes an increasing level of stress. Some stress is good and is necessary, it is termed as Eustress. It is the minimum level of stress that keeps us motivated to do our best and thus is positive in nature. Some stress is negative and its constancy can cause us much harm, this kind of stress is known as Distress.
The first change that occurs with college is the absolute freedom we receive, and we are not always use to it and get carried away in the process. Important decisions are to be made, like what courses to choose and what career to follow? Whether to live at home or in a hostel? Students have to develop an ethical value system that is best suited to them. Once the courses are chosen, the most common reason for stress is grades. The students put themselves under a lot of pressure to perform better, the professors often tend to side
the ones who score high marks rather than focusing on how much the students learn, the pressure to perform together with the pressure to impress could lead to a lot of stress. Students who enter college on scholarship programs or those from low socio economic status who have the responsibility of caring and providing for the family, suffer the most. Some of them even take up part time jobs that leave them no time to relax.
Next in line are friends. Friends are the most important part of any ones life. Friends give our life meaning and to some extent help us find our inner self. Making new friends and adjusting with their lifestyles is never easy. Sometimes it may lead to change in the value system. In the shoes of a non-smoker, “Do I really need to smoke to fit in the group?” Sometimes individuals change their entire perspective on life. Deciding on giving in to peer pressure or to stick with your own values and judgments often lead to conflict and stress.
Love is another important change in an adolescent’s life. There are different kinds of lovers. There are some who feel love is a game. Some feel it is something which would make them cool. Some are just flirting and then there are those who think love is eternal and forever. With these different perspectives sometimes different kinds of lovers get together. This could lead to a lot of stress. From one of my heart broken friends I got this, “My boyfriend
thinks love is just another game in life. If you are strong enough you will win the game or else you are a looser. Sex is just another parameter just like cloths or shoes in life.” Many times sex is misunderstood and misused as love. Sometimes girls feel pressurized into being physical on the demand of their boyfriends. Sometimes it can lead to date rape or sexual harassment also. Most girls get too embarrassed to talk about it or seek much needed help; this resistance is very harmful to their mental and physical health.
With love and relationships come break-ups. Breakups are never easy. It can lead to self doubt, feeling depressed, and can sometimes also lead to a negative and poor self image. By the age of 17, most of the college students have had their heart broken and fallen in love all over again. By the time they are 18, they face different kind of stressors. Now they are official adults and have far more responsibilities. There is a conflict inside of them, as they
are not children and not totally adults. They have to find socially accepted ways to express themselves.
This is a period where adolescents usually face identity confusion. They are in the process of making an individual identity based on their on values. Sometimes these values go against the values of their parents and family systems. In a typical Indian society, there are a lot of gender related stressors. Adolescent girls are under the pressure of getting married, and many times against their will. She is expected to perform all the house hold functions
and duties and has to manage her education and homely duties which can be very stressful. She is expected to be humble and respectful and is many times not allowed to speak her mind. She is dominated by the wishes of her father and is given very little freedom. On the other hand the male child is encouraged to go out, and make a living. They are given more freedom than women.
These are few stressors that my surveys conclusively indicated. There are far too many that are faced by the adolescents of today. The stressors faces by adolescents today are far more different from the ones faces by their parents or even their elder siblings. The adolescents in our modern world are aware and willing to make a difference.
About the Author
Jhalak Jerajani has invested numerous years of her life understanding psychological issues, their cause, their solution, and how they tend to affect humans. You can also read more of her articles at http://forum.bharathiastrology.com.