College Student Stress

Posted: 29th January 2011 by EricBierker in Wellness

As promised, I said I would attempt to post something of interest weekly…here is this week’s thought. I feel it best to limit my posts to once a week…to increase interest (increase demand through low supply), manage expectations, and to not stress me out!

Recently, a provocative article in the New York Times had several college therapists weighing in on what they say are increasingly stressed freshmen students on college campuses. The major hypothesis for this stress is proffered to be the economy. Dad’s being unemployed, debt from college loans, and diminished prospects of employment, seem to be the A-B-C of the stress causation. I am going to be a Contrarian on this one. I hypothesize that college freshmen stress is because of a sense of meaninglessness that many student feel at the center of their lives.  Look at the white board above…I don’t see $$$ signs, do you. Does meaning really = money?

Being told to work hard so as to get a good job to buy a big house, drive a nice car, and have 2.2 kids, and retire in Florida, is coming up wanting because the promise of prosperity is elusive and unlikely for this generation. Someone is going to have to pay the price, and guess what, this younger generation is going to be left holding the debt bag. And by the time you all figure it out, we are going to be dying or already dead.  The good news is that your life consists more than just the sum of your possessions, that you will just have to leave behind anyway when you step over the line to eternity. The irony is you could have all the stuff that life offers and still be profoundly unhappy. How is it that so much hope is being pinned on affluence? Isn’t “security and stuff” just a shiny idol that rusts when the harsh weather of time blows?

You can be rich in the soul, passionate about service, enlivened by great ideas, and nourished by community, and be financially poor. Or you can be rich, and be a wretch. I actually long for my days in Grad School over 20 years ago where I lived on the third floor of a couple’s house, had few possessions, and drove a beat up car that I could have cared less if it had been buffed and shined. I almost taunted birds to take a crap on it. I didn’t care. My clothes were simple, my food basic. I had access to good books and had a roof over my head to keep me dry. And, I was happy. I had little to lose and there was great security living small. I didn’t have far to fall.

There is one way, it is said, to get everything you want. It is to want less. Look to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus to discover what true treasure is….you can count on it. Unlike Social Security.




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