College should serve as preparation for students’ careers and the instillation of positive behaviors that will assist them in coping with stress in the workplace. Completing college coursework is a job in and of itself and stress management seminars and the like are part of many workplaces. So the campus and the workplace should mirror one another in respect to stress management. Freshman have unique stressors in the fact that this is most likely the first experience with living outside of his or her comfort zone.
Without reasonably proximal support, Freshman will have to learn to develop a new support network as a buffer to stress. This course/seminar will address both the causes of stress, its effects, and positive coping mechanisms. In addition the course will provide a forum for students to begin empathizing and supporting one another. Most importantly, since the campus should be viewed as a parallel to the workplace, this class will deal with burnout, a term used most often in relation to work, but should be introduced as part of what students may experience throughout their college careers.
The objective here is to avoid student burnout and the health risks that are posed with chronic stress in this population. This course is especially important for student retention as it is my hypothesis that less students will drop-out after completing the course. Studies and literature available on the subject demonstrate a huge need for primary prevention in the form of a class that addresses stress issues. Students may have to learn how to manage multitasking (as many students have jobs in addition to school).
There are, also, special needs for student athletes in dealing with their stress, stress arising from deadlines and work overload, and stress that is caused by the onslaught of processing massive amounts of information. Many students are living on their own for the first time in their lives, so they can learn basic wellness skills to combat stress and ways to recognize unhealthy behaviors that may preclude illness, student burnout and/or dropout.
The benefits are clear that student retention would be advantageous to the university and there would be a forum open so that students can begin to communicate with others about their stress. Students could then reach out for social support which proves as an all-important buffer to this. Professors will be excited to be a part of this program as this is a ground-breaking course. Also, it should be set up as a model for other institutions to follow. For this reason, retaining professors to volunteer should be relatively easy and with volunteers, this course will be feasibly inexpensive in terms of overhead.
Students will have to take the course as part of their requirements in either the first or second semester, and with one day seminar one semester and one night seminar the second semester, therefore all students will have the chance to fit it into their schedules. It should be discussed with the chosen dean as to how to fit it in during the summer sessions, which may be necessary so that all students have the class. But, over-all this is a “win-win” scenario, everyone on campus will benefit.