ACADEMIC CONCERNS & MENTAL HEALTH

How can academics affect mental health?

Did you know UofSC students say STRESS is the number one impediment to their academic success?

Success in the classroom requires a combination of time, focus and effort. Between balancing social, employment and personal obligations, some students may find themselves struggling academically. Students who previously did well in school often have difficulty with college-level courses and exams. Personal and family expectations may not align with grades. As a result, it is common that students lose personal confidence and develop anxiety over academic performance. Stress continues to rise as these issues further affect academic achievement. Prolonged stress can lead to negative effects on both physical and mental health.

What are common problems students have with classes and what can help?

  • Procrastination – Determine the cause of delaying starting an assignment. Different people have different reasons for avoiding work. Some common issues include:
    • Underestimating/overestimating the amount of work required
    • Occupying time with other distractions (cleaning, watching TV, etc).
    • Spending too much time on one portion of the assignment
    • Indecision about how to start a project

By identifying the causes of your procrastination, you can plan actions to overcome the issue.

    • Break it down – Separate your work into smaller steps. This may make the project seem more manageable.
    • Monitor progress – Make sure you are spending the adequate amount of time on each step. Check for any problems or issues you are having with the project. See how your work is moving towards the larger picture of completion.
    • Reward yourself - Reward yourself with breaks and relaxation between steps to reduce stress and fatigue.
  • Perfectionism – Setting high or unrealistic goals leads to lower self-esteem when these “perfect” goals are not met. Perfectionism is often caused by fears of failure, negative criticism and comparisons to others. Steps to deal with perfectionism include:
    • Think Again – Placing expectations on oneself by thinking about what “should” be done increases anxiety and ignores personal wants and desires.
    • Confront Fears – Use feelings of anxiety for insight. Ask yourself if these feelings are due to impossible expectations or worries about the outcome of an event.
    • Trust the Process – Evaluate success not by the end result but by how much you enjoyed and learned by doing a task. There is value in pursuing a goal in addition to accomplishing a goal.
  • Test Anxiety – Nerves before a big test can serve as motivation. However, too much anxiety can affect preparation and performance on tests. Here are some tips for managing anxiety related to tests:

What resources are available on campus to assist with academic concerns?

  • The Student Success Center (SSC) is a one-stop shop for academic support services on campus. All services are free to undergraduate students. www.sc.edu/success
    • Study skills, tutoring, time management and financial literacy courses are offered.
  • UofSC is a designated 2016 Military Friendly School and offers specialized support for veterans: www.sa.sc.edu/veterans