With spring break just days away, many Ferris students are eagerly awaiting a vacation from their busy schedules. Ferris senior Andrew MacIver is no exception.
A typical day for the facility management major usually begins between 6 and 7 a.m. so he can fit in a quick workout before class. MacIver spends his mornings on campus and is currently taking the last 12 credits he needs in order to graduate. In the past though, he’s taken as many as 21 credits.
In the afternoon, MacIver heads to one of his two jobs. He is an assistant project manager at the Ferris Physical Plant and also works general maintenance at the ice arena, which includes driving the Zamboni.
After working four to six hours, MacIver sits down to do homework. Because his classes are upper level, MacIver said he has to spend a significant amount of time prepping outside of class.
Finally, it’s time for bed. MacIver tries to get seven hours of sleep per night but admits that he’s sometimes able to get only four hours.
With so many responsibilities, it’s no wonder MacIver, who considers himself a “pretty high-strung” individual, is stressed out. He’s not alone.
A recent “Stress in America” survey by the American Psychological Association reported that Americans ages 18-33 are the most stressed out generation. On a 10-point scale, Millenials reported an average stress level of 5.4 compared to the national average of 4.9.
When asked where he fell on the 10-point scale, MacIver said his stress level is an 8 this semester, but he can recall times where it has been a 10.
“Between trying to get a job, trying to get decent grades and trying to make money, there’s a lot of pressure,” MacIver said. “Plus, I’m not just looking out for myself. I’ve got my fiancee to think about too.”
MacIvver got engaged last summer and said he often stresses himself worrying about making a good life for him and his future wife. Thus, he wasn’t surprised to learn that his self-reported stress level was higher than that of his peers.
“I wouldn’t say that I spread myself too thin, but I’m involved in many things across campus,” MacIver said.
According to the survey, work and job stability accounted for the most prominent sources of Millenials’ stress. MacIver agreed.
“The workplace has become very competitive,” he said. “People stress themselves out to try to become successful.”
Additionally, MacIver believes that his generation puts pressure on themselves to “step up and contribute to society.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey reported that young Americans were more likely to experience irritability or anger due to stress, and more Millenials admitted to being diagnosed with anxiety or depression than older generations.
MacIver said he has struggled to control his stress-related anger. Fortunately, he understands the dangers of bottling up his emotions and has found a safe outlet to relieve his stress: hockey. He plays in a men’s league as well as intramurals.
“When I get out on the ice, I don’t think about anything else,” MacIver said.
MacIver acknowledged there are college students with even more stressful schedules than his and recommends they too find an outlet.
According to the survey, people across generations favor activities other than drinking or smoking to help them cope with their stress. Americans said they turn toward exercise, listening to music, reading or spending time with family and friends to relieve tension.
“Stress hurts you. We were not meant for this much stress,” MacIver said. “Sometimes I feel like it’s not worth it, but I have people around me to help me through it.”
While MacIver’s looking forward to a bit of rest over spring break, it won’t be palm trees and sunny beaches. Hoping to decrease his stress level, he’ll be searching for a post-graduation job.