An Afternoon at Oxford

Oxford University, located west of London in the United Kingdom, is known as the world’s oldest English speaking university.  The town is known for it’s connections to old and new pop culture, including Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter.

How do you handle stress at BU?

Stress in college is nothing new, and finals in particular tend to heighten than part of the collegiate experience.

At a major research institution like Boston University, students can sometimes feel swamped under the pressures of heavy workloads, particularly as many students are involved in countless other things around campus.  

Feeling prepared provides students with some comfort during the most stressful times, particularly finals.  Preparation means studying, and effective studies require study spaces.  College libraries are often a point of pride, shown off on campus tours and in brochures, but at Boston University that isn’t the case.

“Mugar is so sad that i’ve only ever studied in there once,” said Gabrielle Giacona, a senior in the neuroscience program.

Natalie Kahn, a senior in the College of Communication, had only this to say: “Mugar sucks.”  The library may seem large during the regular semester, but during midterms and finals overcrowding means getting a seat is almost impossible. “There are a ton of other libraries for students to use that aren’t promoted as much or we just have no idea where they are,” added Kahn.

No amount of studying can eliminate stress completely, so students must find a way to handle the pressure. That skill, however, seems to develop over time: “My stress at BU hasn’t been too high. I mean, maybe freshman year, but we’re all sorta garbage fires for a little bit then so I don’t really count it,” said Sean Grogg (CAS 2018).

As the years go on, students start to find their own ways to handle stress. The task does often fall to students to figure out the best ways to handle the pressures associated with college.

“I have something that helps me with stress relief all the time,” said Ben Allen (COM 2019), “I do deep breathing and meditation.”

Other students turn to comforts to cope with the associated distress that goes with stress.  

“I handle stress by spending time with my friends or calling my family if its general stress or tackling assignments as quickly as possible if its school stress,” said Lauren Rodolakis (COM 2019) “I don’t really know what BU does to help students with stress, I know they have the therapy dogs and SHS but that’s about it.”

For other students, the stress leads them to diversions: “I stress eat,” said Lucy Siegel (SED 2018), “If you’re someone who does too there are a lot of cool resources like within FitRec that you can take on how to eat healthy and fun exercise classes.”

“FitRec seemed like a popular place for stress relief: “For me, FitRec has always been a bit of a safe haven to go and destress for a bit, just because the facilities are so nice,” said Grogg.

University resources may exist, but that doesn’t mean they’re effective.  “I think BU tries to be good about stress but isn’t,” said Gabrielle Giacona (CAS 2018).  

The university does provide some resources for students who feel the stress beginning to impact their overall health, but with so many students it doesn’t always seem to be enough.  Boston University’s Center for Wellness and Prevention declined to comment, however their website indicates that they do provide “Resources on topics like stress, sleep, sexual health, alcohol, and other drugs.” Further probing on the website, however, indicated that the topics emphasized are largely regarding sexual health.

“They offer counseling services but the issue is that they aren’t advertised at all,” said Leigh Crossett, an international relations student in the College of Arts and Sciences, “and during finals week the appointments are way oversubscribed.”

Stress doesn’t just come from classes, however, “Usually my stress in college comes from the lack of support from advisors,” said Meredith Moore (SED 2018), “In such a big school it is important to advocate for yourself and what you need.”