Students talk about school stressors

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University stress is a large emotional, mental, and even physical threat. Radford University, in addition to offering stress busters at the library, hosts late night events in order to give students something to do besides work or studying. Of course, not every RU student would be studying late at night, but for some, overcoming stress can lead to less than wise behaviors, and perhaps ending up on the wrong side of the RU Police Department as a disturbance, or worse, an accident victim.

Fortunately, not all RU students need the aid of university-sanctioned events to unwind, nor do they turn to hazards to blow off stream. Some students, pursuing the interests that led them to college in the first place, use their skills and talents in nonacademic applications that nonetheless help to hone their skills.

Skyler Askey, a media production junior, plays music on his porch and home and with his friends. When he heard they needed a banjo player, he bought one and learned to play. He uses the instrument as a means to focus on something else besides schoolwork.

“Last year at finals time, we played music outside every day. We play together every night, usually, as much as we can.”

Askey finds the banjo, a new craft to him, to be a “unrelated object to school.” It’s easy to focus on- “kind of like my little getaway zone,” he says. It also gives other people something to talk about on campus. “When I would see people doing something out of the ordinary, it kind of gives you something to talk about.”

He plays with his friend, Shawn Hatfield, who is a guitar major.
“I’m practicing pretty much all day, in between classes and stuff,” he says. “Playing other types of music besides classical and jamming relieves a lot of stress. It takes my mind off the upcoming, important stuff that you need to finish.” Even when he is just on campus playing with his friends in Moffett quad, he says any playing helps.
“Even just playing with groups helps you practice, because you’re going out there and getting out of your comfort zone.”

Sometimes, he says people will sit down around the group playing and relax and talk. The impromptu performances make campus life a little less monotonous.

Although it may seem counterintuitive that playing guitar would help someone relax from a hard day of playing guitar, the tactic is used by other students, too. Autumn Pittman, a senior, studies graphic design.

“I draw things that make me happy, not for my assignments… I like to draw what I want to do, not what I have to do, when I’m stressed out.”
She also watches cartoons from her childhood. “They remind me of a time when I was younger and I didn’t have the problems I have now,” she explains. The relaxed atmosphere of the shows helps her to let go of her problems for the time being.

Other students focus on more practically-oriented stress busting techniques. Mary Beth is an English major, and a sophomore. “Breaks are important,” she says, saying that when she is trying to manage her stress, breaking her assignments down into lists helps her.

Students have various ways of managing stress, but we are all confronted by the same pressure from everyday school life. Soon, students will be studying for midterms, and then finals, and more students will be out playing music, drawing, or just sorting out what they have to do to succeed in school.